Standard Article

Margarines and Spreads

  1. Michael M. Chrysan

Published Online: 15 JUL 2005

DOI: 10.1002/047167849X.bio036

Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products

Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products

How to Cite

Chrysan, M. M. 2005. Margarines and Spreads. Bailey's Industrial Oil and Fat Products. 4:2.

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 15 JUL 2005


This chapter discusses margarine as well as vegetable oil margarine and butter substitutes containing less than 80% fat. These products are referred to as table spreads. The table spread category has undergone great changes in recent years and continues to change rapidly. The market for table spreads, which was originally driven by cost, has now been impacted mainly by health concerns. Claims relative to the cholesterol content, polyunsaturated fats, saturated fats, total fat, and trans-fat content have become important issues.

Historical production of spreads and their relationship to butter are discussed. Legal requirements for the composition and labeling of margarine and table spreads are given. Such information is necessary for formulating products to meet specific demands. Labeling is regulated and set forth in the Code of Federal Regulations. Labels concerning health and nutrient content are detailed. Product characteristics of importance are spreadability, oil separation, and melting. The various oils sources in vegetable oil margarines and spreads are discussed in terms of their properties, blending, and specifications.

There is a wide range of formulations used in the margarine industry. However, there are five basic processing operations: emulsification, cooling, working, resting, and packaging. Attention is given to the factors impacting on the deterioration and shelf life of the products.


  • margarine;
  • spreads;
  • butter;
  • labels;
  • nutrition;
  • health claims;
  • spreadability;
  • source oils;
  • blending;
  • specifications;
  • formulations;
  • flavor;
  • vitamins;
  • processing;
  • low-calorie spreads;
  • deterioration;
  • shelf life