Butter vs. Margarine vs. Becel

I enjoy comparing different products and making blind tests. Call me a geek but I find it super interesting and fun to experience the difference between various products, products which at first sight seem equal but that in the end turns out to differ – sometimes a lot. It’s not until you have compared the different products side by side as you can say that one is better than the other (at least not sensory wise).

We were four food nerds participating in this test and we tried the products both in its natural shape and as cookies to see if the differences remained after cooking. Taking a look at the ingredients list is also an interesting part of the test. Butter only includes three different ingredients while both margarine and Becel is crammed with additives which affects the consistency and makes them firmer. I don’t oppose all additives but they should be used in a good way; they should provide the product with added values and not be used to cheat and make the product more cost effective. It felt like as if the margarine were stuffed with additives because of the chewy glue like consistency. It never melted and left an unpleasant coating in the palate. The flavor were quite bland, some rapeseed with a pinch of salt, that’s it. Becel had a much saltier taste but were otherwise fairly neutral. An interesting thing about Becel is that it was very volatile; it melted almost instantly and didn’t leave any aftertaste what so ever. The butter on the other hand had a perfect melting rate; it didn´t last too long or too short, and the taste of acidified milk, of which the other products lacked, was prominent. You could taste the saltiness but it wasn’t overpowering. Becel had most dominant salty taste which may be because of the quick melting rate, which releases all the salt at once.

We used a very simple recipe when making the cookies and since the test was “blind” we fed each other one cookie at the time and served one another water in between to neutralize the palate. The cookies with butter scored three out of four possible points while the margarine cookie scored one. The Becel cookie had the weakest flavor intensity and tasted almost only of sugar with a tiny hint of rapeseed. The margarine cookie had quite a strong overall flavor intensity but also this cookie was also too “rapseedy”. The margarine made the cookie softer and more brittle than the other two. The cookie made out of butter had by far the most complex and richest taste; it was well balanced and had a wide taste spectra with no overpowering flavors. The butter made the cookie smell and taste of nuts and toffee, which we found very pleasant.

To summarize the test we could state that the butter was the superior candidate both when it comes to taste and texture, which proved that our preconceptions correlated with reality. So the next time you go to the supermarket to buy shortening, choose butter – it’s very much worth that extra spent money.