Margarine evolved drastically from 100 years earlier when it was first made as a butter alternative. It is also a high-tech product with several variants and combinations. There are 10 different forms of margarine made today. There are standard, whipped, and polyunsaturated margarine in both stick and soft types.
There are vegan margarine, edible margarine, and fresh 60% vegetable oil spreads. Such margarine is produced from a number of oils, including soy, cottonseed, coconut, grain, safflower, and sunflower oils. These custom-made products address the desires of several specific parts of the population. Through the years, this marketing strategy has helped to increase consumer demand.
What is margarine?
Margarine, a nutritional substance composed primarily of one or more vegetable or animal fats or oils of which an aqueous composition comprising either solid or liquid milk products are dispersed, salt and other additives such as flavoring agents, yellow pigments, emulsifiers, preservatives, vitamins A and D and butter are dispersed. It is used for cooking and spread. Nutritionally, margarine is primarily a type of calories.
Margarine is a spread used for flavoring, baking, and cooking, which was first produced in France in 1869. Butter is made from milk butterfly, while modern margarine is mainly made from refined vegetable oil and water. Margarine consists of a salt-in-fat emulsion, with tiny droplets of water distributed randomly in the fat process in solid crystalline shape. Because of its versatility, margarine may be used as an ingredient in many consumer items, such as pastries, doughnuts, cakes, and cookies.
How is margarine made?
The basic process of producing margarine today consists of emulsifying a mixture of vegetable and animal oils and fats that can be changed by fractionation, interesterification or hydrogenation, skimmed milk that can be fermented or soured, salt, citric or lactic acid, cooling the mixture to solidify it, and operating to improve its texture.
Margarine and vegetable fat spread found in the market will vary from 10 % to 90% of fat, based on dietary marketing and purpose (spreading, cooking, or baking). The softer tub margarine is produced with fewer hydrogenated and more liquid oils than block margarine. For the production of margarine, first oils and fats are extracted, e.g. by pressing the seeds and then refined. Oils may undergo a complete or partial hydrogenation process to solidify them.
The milk/water mixture shall be kept separate from the oil mixture until the emulsion step is completed. The fats are warmed to make them liquid during the mixing phase. Water-soluble additives are introduced to the combination of water or milk, and emulsifiers such as lecithin are introduced to help disperse the water content equally in the oil. Other water-soluble ingredients contain skim milk powder, iodine, citric acid, lactic acid, and preservatives such as potassium sorbate.
The fat-soluble additives are blended into the product. These involve coloring carotenoids and antioxidants. Instead, the two mixtures are emulsified by gradually applying the oil to the milk/water mixture with regular stirring. Next, the mixture is cooled down. Rapid chilling prevents the production of large crystals and results in a smooth texture. The stock is rolled or kneaded. Lastly, the product may be aerated with nitrogen to facilitate its spread.
Butter vs. Margarine:
Butter is a common dietary staple made from churning cream. It is primarily used as a fried fat, spread, or as a part of sauces, cakes, and pastries. As a concentrated form of milk fat, it is primarily composed of saturated fat. As a result of studies combining a high intake of saturated fat with an increased risk of heart disease, public health authorities have begun recommending that people limit their consumption of butter.
Margarine is a refined food that is made to taste and look like butter. It is also prescribed as a healthy substitute. Current forms of margarine are manufactured from vegetable oils comprising polyunsaturated fats and can reduce “bad” LDL cholesterol when used instead of saturated fat. Since vegetable oils are liquid at room temperature, food scientists adjust their chemical composition to make them as stable as butter. Simply stated, modern margarine is a highly processed food product made from vegetable oils, while butter is essentially concentrated dairy fat.
Health benefits of margarine
May be high in polyunsaturated fat
Many types of margarine products are rich in polyunsaturated fat. The exact amount depends on what vegetable oils have been used to produce it. Soya bean oil-based margarine, for example, can contain approximately 20% polyunsaturated fat. Polyunsaturated fat is commonly described to be healthy. It may even have health benefits for the heart when compared to saturated fat. Putting pieces together, the replacement of saturated fat with polyunsaturated fat has been linked with a significant decrease in the incidence of heart attacks. It however has no major effect on the risk of death from heart disease.
May contain plant sterols and stanols
Some margarine products are high in phytosterols or stanols. Vegetable oils are naturally abundant in these compounds as well. Phytosterol-enriched margarine decrease average and “bad” LDL cholesterol, at least in the short term, which can also boost “good” HDL cholesterol. Nevertheless, most studies have not detected a significant association between total phytosterol intake and risk of heart disease. It is important to emphasize the difference between risk factors and hard outcomes.
Here’s why margarine is becoming a bigger hit than butter:
Demand for a butter alternative
The global margarine market is largely influenced by evolving preferences and eating habits, leading to a change in customer preference for natural foods. Demand is also driven by the fact that margarine is a healthier alternative to butter.
The growth in the use of margarine has been driven by advances in the methods of processing oils and margarine compounding, which have resulted in the manufacture of products of superior quality, strongly resemble butter in terms of flavor, consistency, and nutrient values. Different factors such as rising cholesterol issues and saturated fat consumption, changing behaviors, and increasing aging population have resulted in decreasing butter usage and increased demand for vegetable fats such as margarine.
Similar to human health, people are becoming increasingly concerned about the health of the planet. Since plant-based diets have a smaller carbon footprint than animal-based foods, more and more consumers are moving to meat-free options for good reason. Food brands also focus more on sustainability for a variety of reasons. First, their customers are becoming more and more environmentally conscious and their purchasing decisions can be affected by the brand’s environmental approach.
Secondly, world leaders are implementing stricter and stricter legislation on production methods that negatively impact the planet. Food manufacturing firms continue to find ways to fulfill both consumer and legislative expectations. The processing of vegetable margarine is now more humane than the processing of animal-based foods. So by making margarine in an ever more sustainable way, companies can make themselves more socially responsible.
The journey of margarine among consumers: summed up
The margarine market has traveled from the center to the margins. As commodity prices changed over time, and rapid industrialization streamlined production, animal fats were substituted with vegetable oils, and the emulsification process was expanded to incorporate partial and total hydrogenation. And, for most of the previous years, margarine was pretty much on the roll. New brands have emerged to capitalize on the booming market.
Revelations on fat content correlated with natural food trends: led by an increasing consensus among nutritionists, customers were suspicious of highly processed products full of refined grains, added sugars, and, yes, vegetable oils, both of which had no resemblance to products contained in the natural world. It has however come to pass that the initial reason for Margarine’s existence, shelf stability, and availability, are now two of its greatest liabilities, no longer connoting consistency, but rather some sort of undesirable artificiality.
Free Valuable Insights: Global Margarine Market to reach a market size of USD 4.3 billion by 2026
Nonetheless, margarine is now a high-tech commodity with several variants and combinations. There are different types of margarine produced today. There are standard, whipped, and polyunsaturated kinds of margarine in both stick and soft forms. These kinds of margarine are produced from a number of oils, including soy, cottonseed, palm, corn, safflower, and sunflower oils. And hence, the visible increasing prevalence of margarine among commercial and residential consumers came forth.