The Vegetarian Resource Group Blog

Nucoa Margarine Still an All-Vegetable Product Despite Label Change

Posted on April 29, 2010 by The VRG Blog Editor

Nucoa Margarine Still an All-Vegetable Product Despite Label Change
by Jeanne Yacoubou
VRG Research Director

A reader recently asked The VRG if Nucoa margarine was still whey- and dairy-free. She was concerned because of a recent label change that removed the words “contains no milk or whey” from the tub container.

The VRG contacted Nucoa’s manufacturer and spoke with Connie, a Customer Service Representative. She assured us the change occurred only on the label. The margarine still is free of any and all milk products. The lactic acid in Nucoa is derived from corn and all flavors are non-animal as well.

The Nucoa tub margarine did undergo a reduction in total fat from 10g to 7g; the sticks did not undergo a reformulation keeping their total fat steady at 11g. Connie informed us that Nucoa is available only regionally, being most commonly available in California, Arizona, and Nevada.

131 to “Nucoa Margarine Still an All-Vegetable Product Despite Label Change”

  1. Kristen Lambert says:

    In the past, the outside packaging did not list vitamin D3 in the ingredients although the inside wrapper did. Just a heads up.

  2. Joan Gay says:

    I have not been able to locate Nucoa in stores near me (Citrus Heights CA). Are there any stores in my area that carry it now. I love it for cooking and really miss it. Have tried others and they do not stand up to Nucoa. HELP!

  3. Pat Harris says:

    Hi. I found that Ralph’s grocery stores, in California, carry Nucoa, both stick and tub. Good luck.

  4. Miriam says:

    I live in Los Angeles, CA It seems that the local Ralphs markets have discontinued Nucoa Margarine, both stick and tub. I am also looking for it. Thanks

  5. Marcelle says:

    I have been to Ralphs and to Albertsons and have been told that Nucoa Margarine in Tubs has been discontinued. Please advise. Discontinuing this product is a disaster … I have been using it for more than 20 years!

  6. Gail says:

    I am highly allergic to ALL dairy products, and recently my room mate came home with Nucoa butery sticks with the words in ingredients listed at Lactic Acid. The words “contain no milk” have been removed.

    Both of us are allergic to dairy. Is this product still dairy free. I was always told that anything Lactic is from milk.

    Please answer.


  7. Dianne Adams says:

    I have been buying Nucoa for years. Recently the box and label (for the stick) has changed and so has the flavor. It is completely different now. It tastes like all of the old ingrediants have been taken out. Is this because they are trying to take away trans fats, etc. and forcing Americans to be healthy? I will not guy it anymore unless you put back the old flavor.

  8. I am 60 years old and have used Nucoa my entire life. I’ve always thought it was great, however the last sticks I bought are very different. The great buttery taste is gone, it does not melt like before (especially on toast), it does not softened at room temperature and it leaves a very nasty thick film in your mouth. Is it just me or has anyone noticed a change?

  9. stan nzieve says:

    Nucoa in tubs does not seem to be available anymore. That’s a shame since the tub lists no trans fat while the stick type does have some trans fat. First the company changed their packaging with a new drawing, which apparently disguised the fact that their new net tub held less margarine than the old tub but still cost as much or more. It seems that the parent company is more interested in promoting their other margarine labels than Nucoa, which was the best, non-burning one we could find in California.

  10. gary b says:

    They must have re-formulated this product (stick) as it does not spread or taste as it has for many years, Also they have removed the word margarine. I’m looking for a better product.

  11. dave says:

    Not only is the Nucoa wrapped differently, the Nucoa does not taste the same, spread the same, nor does it have the same appearance when room temperature. It has an odd flavor now. I have used Nucoa even before the color was allowed in the margarine…around 1945. I have always used it instead of butter since I will not use dairy products. But why the change? It does not taste as good and I’m wondering if it’s being made somewhere else, like a foreign country.

  12. Denise says:

    If Nucoa (in the tub) has been discontinued this is indeed disastrous for many of us who cannot use a margarine that has and dairy components.
    Who makes it? and who can we write to?

  13. dave says:

    Also, I observed this morning that when I unwrapped Nucoa I had just taken out of the refrigerator, the surface of the margarine was darker than just under the surface. Also, rather than looking like one cube of margarine, it had several grooves and deep dents in it. The wrapping, just before I started unwrapping the margarine, was smooth and without damage. Something very strange is going on with the Nucoa and it’s a warning to me to not buy it anymore.

  14. Helena says:

    I am allergic to all (cow) dairy and was worried about the change as well. I am relieved to see you were able to contact the company – I just wish they would at least have left the Vegan label on it. Nucoa sticks is also available throughout Utah. The tub of Vegan margarine I use is Smart Balance Light – if that helps anyone.

  15. Larry Johnston says:

    Nucoa does not taste the same, it tastes like shortening. It doesn’t spread the same, nor does it bake the same. Wanna try the cookies we just made? Eww…it’s GROSS tasting!!!

    But why the change? Yeah, I read the thing they told you about that ‘their’ lactic acid was from corn, but why change the Vegan label & the dairy free label???? It doensn’t make sense.

    It just does not taste as good. My five year old who use to like to just eat spoonfuls of it…lol…won’t eat it on his toast anymore.

    I’m also wondering if it’s being made somewhere else, like a foreign country. Pretty sad to change an all AMERICAN product that is such a staple to so many for SO long.

  16. Brian says:

    My family has used Nucoa for years. It had less moisture in it and worked well for popcorn. The last couple of years it has had an odd taste, kind of sweet like a kettle corn flavor. We don’t like it!!! I hope they change it back to the old flavor or we will not be buying it anymore.

  17. edward cross says:

    my wife and have used nucoa for 54 years and now the stuff you call buttery sticks taste like lard. why did you change it?

  18. Christina says:

    I found the Nucoa at Vons in Covina, CA. I needed it for a vegan recipe and it did just fine. I find that you have to work with it a little. It was my first time trying it and I have no complaints.

  19. Colleen says:

    So glad others have written in. I plan on writing a letter to the company. The changes that have been made to Nucoa margarine, I agree, are absolutely disgusting. I too am lactose intolerant. Finding another margarine which is lactose free is next to impossible. Maybe if we all send around and sign a petition on line then send it to the company they will wake up and realize we want the old, familiar Nucoa margarine back. If the changes made to Nucoa were for the company to increase profits they may find profits fall when we all quit buying it because we can’t stomach it. Does anyone know how to do an online petition that people can sign?

  20. Marion Peterson says:

    We agree with all the negative postings about Nucoa. I have used it all my life and loved it until recently. Why the change? We will not buy it any more. We will miss it alot. The cookies I just baked got thrown out.

  21. Bobbi C. says:

    I just bought the new buttery sticks today. what a horrible surprise. The ingredients are not the same. The saturdated fat used to say 10%, now it says 23%. That must be why it tastes like you just took a bite of Crisco shortening, with a greasy coating left in your mouth. I bet it’s going to ruin my “rice crispie treat.” The good taste is entirely gone. No reason to buy it anymore. I’ll have to find something else that doesn’t burn in the skillet.

  22. R. Lewis says:

    Nucoa Margarine is no longer dairy free. Now they call it buttery sticks. Cannot buy it any more, I am severly lactose intolerant.

  23. J Laney says:

    I used Nucoa for years for a child with a severe milk allergy. Contacted the company today and complained about the new formulation and they stated they were interested in what people thought of the new Nucoa. You can contact GFA Brands at (201)421-3970 and let them know you want the old Nucoa back. You can also google GFA Brands and send an e-mail directly to the company too. They customer service rep did say it still is milk free but the taste is terrible and we can’t bake with it.

  24. kathy brister says:

    Won’t buy the new nucoa anymore! My cookies taste terrible now with the new cubes. Go back to the original, or we are not using it ever again!

  25. Katie Squire says:

    I too had thought that it was just a change in the packaging, but after having read the ingredients I found “palm fruit oil” on the package. Not only am I allergic to milk, but also to anything from palm trees. As a prize winning baker, I am very upset. If someone finds a good tasting vegan alternative that will work for baking please post the product name and website. Thank you.

  26. Jennifer says:

    Does anybody know where to contact Nucoa? I was born with a deadly allergy to all dairy and dairy bi-products (among other things) and have tried all of the other margarines sold in the area but they all have something I’m still allergic to in them. The Nucoa margarine was the only one I found that did not trigger an allergic reaction and now we can’t find it anymore 🙁

    These companies need to stop with this crap! What are the people out there with deadly allergies supposed to do? My meals consist of nothing but pasta and veggies now due to dairy being in everything and I can’t even use a stupid bar of soap anymore without reading the ingredients!

    Does anybody know where to file complaints? These companies are slowly eliminating our only options to eat and take care of ourselves. They forget about us and only care about the majority…. What are the rest of us supposed to do to be allowed to eat and bathe without killing ourselves? 🙁

  27. Jennifer says:

    I thought it was just new packaging at first. Then I used it. What a shock! It’s such an awful product now! I first used it to make a bechemel sauce, and thought maybe there was something wrong with the milk. Then I realized it was the margarine. Nothing I did made it taste right. What a horrible disappointment, and I join with others in pleading with them to bring back the old formula, whatever it was. They made a BIG mistake. People have told me for years that my baked goods are better than anyone else’s. They ask what I do that is special. The only variable when using a standard recipe (for example, the Toll House cookie recipe on the bag of chocolate chips) seems to be the type of margarine I use. This will change the flavor dramatically, and I’m so disappointed! Bah, humbug!

  28. Lyn Dominguez says:

    I too am horrified at the change in this product. I do not want to be sentenced to never eating margarine again. This was a freat product since the 50’s why oh why change it! Please put it back to what it was and change the packaging back too. Most people find comfort in products they can depend on. This is a huge shock!!!!!

  29. cHRIS says:

    Thought I was halucinating. Yes, the formula did change. No more partially hydrogenated oils. (The secret that made Nucoa work the way it did) Call, write, and email. We need to Deluge GFA Brands with complaints. AND stop buying the product until it is changed back. Maybe they will do a Classic like Coca Cola did so many years ago.

    Contact GFA Foods at:
    GFA Brands, Inc.
    115 W Century Rd Ste 260
    Paramus, NJ 07652-1432

  30. pat Vanderzyl says:

    I have used Nucoa margarine for so many years I cannot remember when I first started. What did you do to it? Any thing I put it on taste bad. I first thought it was my vegetables, then I put it on bread and a baked potato which I couldn’t eat. I am so disappointed with your product now.

  31. Richard Anderson says:

    We are another disappointed user of Nucoa Margarine. As so many others have said in their comments, the new Nucoa tastes like Crisco or lard. It does not melt like it use to. It does not taste anywhere near as good as it use to. I have used it for over 55 years but will stop using it until they bring back the origonal Nucoa Butter Sticks. As someone else said, the genious that came up with this change should be fired as Nucoa will lose many many customers. Too bad they changed it.

  32. Julie C says:

    My grandmother, mother and I have used Nucoa for decades. Nothing else will do. When I make grandma’s flaky pastry, Nucoa is mentioned by name. It is mentioned by name in all our family cookbooks.

    The product the Parve company is making now, using the name of Nuoca, is disappointing, dishonest and disgusting. The only thing they have accomplished is losing most of their customer base. At first I kept buying it thinking they had made a bad batch, or that it was MY taste buds. I am so dissappointed. I will not buy Nucoa again.

  33. Kathy says:

    I also found a place in the Smart Balance site where you can send comments via email. GFA Brands is ok, but I really dont want to send a letter in snail mail. I too was a fan of Nucoa Margarine. HATE the “buttery sticks”. We had the good stuff all over Las Vegas, now cant find it anywhere.

  34. Manuel Perez Jr says:

    I am a 40 yr. old male & have had nucoa in my life as long as i can remember. Given to me by my parents & now buy it on my own. My whole family had a discussion about nucoa & the new packaging & found we all agree that the flavor, texture, & the way it melts is different. We’ve used it for years & would hate to look for a new margarine to use so please bring back the great old nucoa that we love so much. Until then we will not be purchasing nucoa.
    Thank You,
    Manuel Perez Jr.

  35. Michelle says:

    I was having some health issues and had to go dairy free and tried Nucoa because it said it didn’t have any partially hydrogenated oils in it. That is what the outside of the package says. The wrapper says that it does has partially hydrogenated oils. Was this part of the change? If so, I will not be buying it again either. I also noticed that one of the local stores stopped selling it.

  36. Janice says:

    Well, well. So it isn’t just me. I too am so disappointed in Nucoa and won’t be buying it again.

  37. Rick Ludlow says:

    I an in full agreement with the vast majority of the other comments. The new “Buttery Sticks” tastes like lard, won’t melt, even on a hot baked potato, and won’t soften at room temp. The changes must have been very profitable for the company to risk their reputation like this.

  38. Lyn Dominguez says:

    I talked to someone from the company and expressed my disappointment of the “NEW” Nucoa and was told the change was for our health. LOL. I told her to let them know how many peope are unhappy and that we will not be happy till it is back to what it was. don;t need any company to decide for me what to eat and how much saturated fat is bad for me and I told her there are plenty of other brands we could go to if we wanted to but WE DON’T WANT TO PERIOD. I hope they listen to us. I have tried other margarines but they make me gag.

  39. Linda Javaux says:

    I am so very upset with Nucoa! I have been a faithful customer for 30 years where I learned to bake with from my Grandmother who swore it was here secret to great baking. I have never tasted anything so NASTY in all my days! I will not buy this product until they go back to the old way of making it. I am especially upset when the Thanksgiving Holiday is here and I have to try and find another brand. PLEASE, PLEASE go back to the old Nucoa because this is the worst thing you could have ever done! Why change a GOOD THING when it has worked for years! Now you are just like all the rest!

  40. Lyn Dominguez says:

    I started a facebook page dedicated to bringing back the old fornula Nucoa. Please join and let the Smart Balance company know how important this is to us and tell them to “BRING BACK THE OLD NUCOA”!!!

  41. Margaret says:

    I Have used Nucoa since it first came out and I don’t know
    what you did to change it but it doesn’t taste or melt or
    work as well in foods as it used to. I am seriously
    thinking of changing brands of margarine. I am lactose
    intolerent. Please consider going back to what Nucoa used
    to be.
    @ –

  42. Laura C. says:

    Sadly, the Nucoa “change” has turned out to be a very poor business decision. I see from the blog that I’m not the only one annoyed by their “new & improve” product. For my husband, it is a very extreme issue as he has NO tolerance for lactic acid of any kind……the anaphylactic reaction is simply not to toy with considering death is the out-come. Nucoa used to be the only product we could trust for table spread, baking and cooking. Now, although it is considered vegan, it contains lactic acid instead of citric acid and thus tastes different to many of you, too. I’m very much hoping that any other person , who has been accustomed to using Nucoa over the years because it was a milk product free and lactic acid free doesn’t mistake the new formula for the old one…… it may well be deadly.
    If Nucoa business managers are reading this, I hope they consider going back to the old formula and stop trying to make something once wonderful more politically correct instead of palatable and allergen safe!

  43. Kathy says:

    I still have half a package of Nucoa margarine in my freezer– Im using it EXTREMELY sparingly…. Two sticks left– highest bidder – hahaha

  44. Lois says:

    Sad to see the old Nucoa go…the new formula tastes terrible. I couldnt’ figure out what I had done differently… except for the new Nucoa…nothing. Since there is very little on the market to take its place, I have tried canola oil. Just use it in place of the margarine. It may not be as good as the old product, but is better than the new. Happy baking. Note: please post your experiences with the oil. Thanks.

  45. Shellie says:

    So sad that my family too has used this margarine for numerous years. I have given up because I feel that a company with families that want to continue using it and cannot find it and now it has changed it’s flavor I found a replacement that is pretty darn close. LAND O LAKES Margarine. Sorry it is not lactose free like Nucoa, but the flavor is pretty close. I am still getting the great taste I did with nucoa in my baking and cooking.
    FED UP and GAVE UP!

  46. Deborah & Dave Privett says:

    We want our old Nucoa back & soon. It is critical for those of us who are on a lactose free diet, for those of us who like to have big flavor in our food and baking; and for those of us who like to cook without burning, We have used nucoa since we were married over 30 years.Imagine our surprise whem we went on our regular grocery shopping trip and there was an empty spot where our beloved nucoa used to sit, never to return. AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHGGGGGGGGG!!!!!!!! Please help, soon!!!!!

  47. Doreen Murray says:

    A terrible dissappointment. I have just finished baking my Christmas Shortbread cookies, of which no one has ever been able to beat. They are gifts for my very close friends. I am very unhappy and will not believe that this formula has not been changed. My cookies tast horrible and are an embarassment to give out. I have very little money ans so my baking is my forte at the holidays. Thank you for damaging my surprise to everyone..

  48. Ginger says:

    I agree with everyone writing here! I have used Nucoa for many many years & always bought it at Stater Bros stores in Southern California. I have recommended both cubes and tubs to lots of people! I am extremely dissappointed in this product now because they not only changed what is on the outside…but more importantly, they changed what is on the INSIDE! Calling it REAL spread and Buttery Sticks just doesn’t cut it! I make wedding cakes at home and I have ALWAYS had compliments on the great taste of the cakes & frosting ~ Now I am only thankful that I don’t have an order for a cake anytime soon! I would be totally embarrassed to present a wedding cake to a couple now! Here it is Christmas & I was all ready to make Christmas cookies for several reasons & after reading all the cookies have been thrown out…I can’t afford to waste all the other ingredients. I am being forced to look for another product because I WILL NOT BUY NUCOA anymore! It will cost a lot of money to change the recipe & labeling back to it’s original…BUT THEY REALLY SHOULD CHANGE IT BACK! Haven’t they ever heard of ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it’ because this used to be a near perfect item!!! CHANGE IT BACK ~ PLEASE!!! Bring back the CLASSIC…..and mean it…inside and out!!

  49. Lyn Dominguez says:

    Go to Smart Balance and send them an e-mail telling them how gross this new product is. Hopefully more people will step up and complain. I just stand in front of the margarine aisle and feel so sad. I have tried everything else and they are not good for lactose intolerent folks like me.

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