Canstar Blue’s margarine & table spread review sees Woolworths Essentials, ALDI Sunnyvale, Tablelands, Olive Grove, Nuttelex, MeadowLea, Flora, Logicol, Bertolli, Woolworths and Coles compared on taste, texture, ease of spread, packaging, value for money and overall satisfaction.
No matter what you spread on your morning toast, whether it’s vegemite or jam, margarine is likely to be the first layer. But the wrong margarine or table spread can leave you with a sour taste, and that’s no way to start the day. So, which margarine or table spread brand do Aussies love most?
To find out which brands offer the perfect blend of quality and price, we surveyed more than 1,600 Australian consumers about the margarine they’ve purchased (and consumed) within the last three months. Brands were rated on taste, texture, ease of spreading, packaging, value for money and overall satisfaction. Those that received the minimum sample size (30 responses) are featured in our report.
Woolworths Essentials topped our margarine ratings after receiving five-star reviews for all categories and overall satisfaction.
Here are the best brands for margarine & table spreads in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s latest review:
Woolworths Essentials put on an impressive spread in our 2021 margarine review, being the only brand to achieve a five-star review for overall satisfaction and all other categories. Most other brands landed on four stars overall, while Bertolli, Woolworths and Coles rounded up the scores on three stars each for overall satisfaction.
It’s worth mentioning that supermarket ALDI’s Sunnyvale range similarly achieved full marks for taste, packaging and value for money. Olive Grove also got five stars for taste, with Nuttelex and Logicol receiving the same result for ease of spreading.
A ‘true’ margarine, according to food standard regulators, contains a minimum of 80% fat (80g of fat per 100g of margarine). This being the case, there are very few ‘true’ kinds of margarine available in Australia today – most will fall under the category of oil-based, reduced-fat, or another type of ‘spread’. Therefore, our customer ratings refer to margarines and table spreads. Ultimately, we’re talking about ‘that stuff’ you put on your toast and sandwiches, which isn’t butter.
What are Aussies looking for in margarine to add to their spread? Our survey shows table spread is a regular grocery staple for almost half of the respondents (45%). A hearty portion of participants said they always buy the same brand (38%), and almost two in five (38%) have tried multiple brands and types.
One in three (30%) usually pick the healthier option, such as the ‘light’ or ‘salt-reduced’ alternative. A handful of those surveyed additionally revealed they were recommended by their health professional to switch from butter to margarine (7%).
The ‘Fresh Food People’ supermarket Woolworths stocks a few affordable Woolworths Essentials butter and margarine products on its shelves, usually in either a 500g or 1kg tub. These check out at a cheap $1.60 or $2, depending on which size you get.
Sunnyvale is one of ALDI’s many private labels, featuring a small range of budget-friendly alternatives. These are typically available in 500g tubs, although there is a 1kg option for the Sunnyvale Table Spread. Some products include:
Prices start from $1.49 for the Sunnyvale Table Spread and go up to $3.49 for the Light or Regular version of the Sunnyvale Cholesterol Spread.
Tablelands promises to help Aussies ‘eat and live better’ with its range of spreads, many of which are suitable for people looking for a lactose-free or plant-based product. The brand describes its spreads as a healthier alternative to butter, with options including the Tablelands Olive Oil Spread containing supposedly 65% less saturated fat than butter. Some Tablelands spreads include:
Tablelands can set you back $2.30 for a 500g tub of its dairy-free spread and reach up to $4.60 for a 1kg tub of the Buttery Blend.
Claimed to contain at least 65% less saturated fat than butter, Olive Grove is said to be the first spread in Australian supermarkets to be made with olive oil. It joins brands like MeadowLea and Gold’n Canola as one of the names under Goodman Fielder to produce spreads and oils, as well as other products. Options include:
Olive Grove usually sells for $3.50 for a standard 500g tub.
Nuttelex offers several options for people looking for a dairy-free, palm oil-free or kosher margarine. It has also created products that apparently lower cholesterol absorption, plus a variety of products targeting different health concerns, food allergies and intolerances, and preferences. Some Nuttelex spreads include:
Nuttelex margarine usually costs between $3.50 and $4.70 for a 500g tub.
MeadowLea’s spreads are claimed to provide at least 70% less saturated fat than butter, and serve up a source of Omega 3, using Australian-grown canola seeds in its products. The range is also said to contain no artificial colours or flavours. Some MeadowLea spreads include:
MeadowLea spreads usually cost $3.30 for a 500g tub.
Flora looks towards plant-based foods and their benefits to fulfill its mission to ‘help people look good, feel good and get more out of life’. Spreads like Flora Original are made with sunflower seed oil and supposedly contain 65% less saturated fat than butter (or 75% for some products like Flora Light). Flora’s range of margarine is also said to not include any artificial colours or flavours. Options include:
Flora spreads usually cost between $3.20 and $8, although certain items from the brand can set you back $10.60.
Logicol claims it can help lower cholesterol absorption by up to 10% within three weeks, if you eat one teaspoon of its spread two or three times per day. It’s said to contain plant sterols, supposedly proven to actively lower cholesterol absorption, plus Omega 3 and vitamins A and D. Logicol spreads include:
Logicol is available from Woolworths and some independent supermarkets. It will usually take you back $6 for a 500g tub.
Known for its olive oil, Bertolli has extended its range to include spreads. Staying true to its Tuscan roots, the brand says its line of spreads is made with the finest ingredients, mixed with specially selected olive oil, resulting in a ‘flavour so vibrant you can almost smell the Italian deli in your own home’. Some Bertolli products include:
Bertolli margarine is available for $3.50 for a 500g tub.
Coles has its own selection of supermarket-branded margarines, offering affordable alternatives to people looking for spreads designed to lower cholesterol or buy an olive oil or canola-based spread. These are available as either a tub, block or pat, depending on the product. Some options include:
Prices range between $1.40 and $2 for most options, or $4 for the cholesterol-lowering variety.
Woolworths gives shoppers another affordable alternative with its own line of home brand spreads. Following many of the trends in the margarine market, the retailer’s range provides olive oil, cholesterol-lowering, as well as regular varieties. One of the options currently available include:
Woolworths spreads typically cost between $2 and $3.80 for 500g.
What do you look for in a margarine when you’re planning on enjoying a delicious spread? Whether you’re baking, cooking or just spreading it on toast, margarine is the go-to healthier alternative when you’re craving that extra dip of butter. But don’t just take our word for it. One in three respondents to our survey (30%) said they usually pick the ‘healthier’ option, with 46% choosing margarine based on certain health benefits like lower in fat or cholesterol.
If you’re like one of the 19% of consumers who buy the cheapest or whichever brand is on special, our review shows supermarket brands including Woolworths Essentials and ALDI Sunnyvale may be the way to go. But you can’t really go wrong since most brands rated four stars for value for money. Many of the options are also typically priced around the $3 mark and come in 500g tubs.
Thinking of making the switch to margarine but worried it won’t live up to the same tastiness as butter? Then you might want to check out Olive Grove as well as Woolworths Essentials and ALDI Sunnyvale which again rated the best for taste. Whatever you choose, we hope you find our ratings to be a useful side dish during your next grocery shop.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Olesya Kuznetsova / Shutterstock.com.
Woolworths Essentials took the lead in Canstar Blue’s margarine review, rating best in most categories:
Canstar Blue surveyed more than 3,000 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased and consumed margarine from a supermarket or grocer within the last three months – in this case, 1,637 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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