Scientists at Cornell University develop butter spread that’s 80% water

Food Dive reported that scientists at Cornell University have created a butter-like spread that’s free from synthetic stabilizers and contains natural ingredients.

The work published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces explains that this product is sustainable, containing 80% water and 20% vegetable oil and milk fat. In total, one tablespoon of this product contains 25.2 calories and 2.8 grams of fat while dairy butter contains 11 grams of fat and about 100 calories, at the same amount.

While this product is nothing new as margarine spread exists, formulation is different because scientists used high-internal phase emulsions (HIPE) by adding water to the oil until the water was at 80%.

According to Cornell University food science professor Alireza Abbapourrad, the the HIPE process created a product that has similar consistency of butter as well as the mouthfeel and creaminess expected of butter.

It is not clear whether this butter-like spread will taste like dairy butter and whether it is a good substitute for cooking, but the look and texture is spot on.

Of course, this product can have some positive outcomes for people who’s shifting from artificial preservatives, as a whole, trends show that dairy butter is actually on the rise.

Via Food Dive,

According to Euromonitor research cited by Bloomberg, global retail butter sales were expected to rise 2.9% last year to $19.4 million, while North American retail sales posted a 7% compound annual growth rate from 2012 to 2017. A recent IRI report ranked butter and butter blends as No. 4 on a list of its top-growing categories. Meanwhile, sales of spreads have been declining, leading to Unilever’s sale of its margarine and spreads business to KKR & Co. last year for $8 billion. Unilever had managed to keep a relatively stable market share in the global spreads segment by debuting vegan and organic varieties of its brands such as I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. But that couldn’t make up for sales declines and the consumer shift back to butter.

There are other butter substitutes on the market like Fora Foods‘ plant-based aquafaba product or Miyoko’s Creamery’s vegan butter, but its not clear whether this one from Cornell researchers will make a big splash or meet the needs of a larger consumer base.


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