Originally published March 24 2014
Smart Balance to convert entire 'Buttery Spread' product line to non-GMO ingredients
by Jonathan Benson, staff writer
(NaturalNews) If you're a fan of synthetic butter products that somewhat resemble the real thing yet contain no animal products, then you may be interested to know that the popular butter alternative brand Smart Balance is converting its entire "Buttery Spread" product line to ingredients that are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The Boulder, Colorado-based company, which currently holds about a 14 percent share of the buttery spread market in the U.S. and 20 percent in Denver, announced that, come summertime, all 15 of its "Buttery Spread" products will be available in non-GMO form nationwide. And some select stores will have the new product as early as March.
"I think we are the first mainstream brand to make this conversion," stated Stephen Hughes, chairman and CEO of Smart Balance's parent company, Boulder Brands, to reporters during a recent interview. "I think if we are successful, others will follow."
Made from a combination of soy, palm, olive and canola oils, Smart Balance Buttery Spreads have always been questionable in terms of their GMO content, as roughly 90 percent of canola and 93 percent of soybeans grown in the U.S. are of transgenic origin. But thanks to the transition, consumers of Smart Balance who wish to avoid these unlabeled additives can now have some peace of mind.
"Two years ago, non-GMO would not be mentioned by consumers," added Hughes. "Today, 40 percent of our consumers want a GMO-free Smart Balance spread."
Food manufacturers learning they must go non-GMO to remain viable You know the GMO issue has reached critical mass when a company peddling the substantial equivalent of margarine, minus the hydrogenated oils, decides to transition its oil base to non-GMO. With retail sales of this product topping 23 million units annually, the switch is both significant and laudable.
Non-GMO soy and canola, after all, are admittedly difficult to procure, as many U.S. farmers long ago sold their souls to Monsanto and other purveyors of transgenic crops, possibly never to return to the farming methods of old (at least not without a fight). So the fact that Smart Balance was able to secure a reliable source for these products shows that the tides are definitely shifting.
"We think Smart Balance is ideally positioned to be a catalyst again," believes Hughes, noting that Smart Balance has always been free of hydrogenated oils, which contain heart-damaging trans fats. "Consumers are really starting to ask what is in my food. GMO is a lightning rod issue within that concern."
Real butter, lard and coconut oil still better options than fake spreads This commitment by Smart Balance, which required significant capital investment to convert many of its processing lines to dedicated non-GMO, is commendable. The company has also said it does not plan to pass these added costs onto its customers, demonstrating a level of integrity that is rare in American corporatism.
And yet, at the same time, it is crucial that health-conscious folks recognize that even non-GMO Smart Balance is inferior to healthy fats like coconut oil, which contain higher levels of beneficial saturated fat, and pasture-based butter and lard for those who choose to consume animal products. Aside from its palm and coconut oil content, Smart Balance is loaded with inflammatory vegetable oils, preservatives and synthetic vitamins, none of which are health-promoting.
"Excessive consumption of polyunsaturated oils [like soy and canola] has been shown to contribute to a large number of disease conditions including increased cancer and heart disease; immune system dysfunction; damage to the liver, reproductive organs and lungs; digestive disorders; depressed learning ability; impaired growth; and weight gain," explains a comprehensive report on fats published by the Weston A. Price Foundation.
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