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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.

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

  1. Goathall says:

    Hello all,

    I noticed the change as well. I found Nucoa in 2003 and have been using the Margarine ever since. Its a great product that I continued to use until these last couple months when the shelf Margarine at the grocery stores switched to Buttery Sticks. This stuff is awful tasting to us west-coast lifestylers. We like salt in our butter!

    Just like THAT softdrink company that switched formulas, please bring back a choice between your Margarine and Buttery Sticks!

    I had to buy an additional tub of another brand’s margarine for my table-bread use. I only use buttery sticks for cooking instead of for everything now.

  2. Deanna says:

    YES!!!!! After the money and time lost with trying to find a margarine or butter to use since NUCOA as we knew it no longer exists, I have finally found one. Be prepared to spend more baking $$$ I tried several margarines that landed in the trash. I have tried 3 real butters and have found that the rich taste and salt level in Challenge Butter is the closest to our Bakers loved Nucoa. All hope is not lost. G’luck to my fellow life long Nucoa users.

  3. Bud Pierson says:

    Sure do miss the good taste of Nucoa of old ! always liked to cook with it as it didnt burn. I have a heck of a time just to get it to melt now, The flavor is not the same either. I did use about 10 pounds a month with 4 adults in the family. I have been looking for something else to replace it with, especiallly for the taste ! NOw it looks white and greasy. Less fat is followed by less taste,thats progress I guess. I will give the Challenge Butter a try. Nuff said.

  4. Bud Pierson says:

    sounds like you may be losing a valued customer,

  5. Nucoa changed more than the name. Instead of some of the oil they have add palm fruit.
    Do you know what that ingredient is? Nucoa now has a greasy quality almost like play dough. I assume the palm fruit is the cause.


  7. Marolyn Aronson says:

    I too have used Nuco all my life. I am 77. I thought it was just a label change. I made corn bread and we like to mix margarine and honey together and eat it on the corn bread. The honey and the Nuco would NOT MIX together. We will NOT buy Nuco any more. I have tried Earth Balance and we like it very much. Trader Joe’s carry it and some health food stores, Fred Meyer and some Walmarts. It costs more but is worth it.

  8. Bruce Kaspari says:

    The “new” Nucoa looks and tastes like lard. It will not melt on toast or vegetables, is useless for cooking and will no longer grace the shelves of my refrigerator.

    Nucoa is not alone in. Imperial reformulated its margarine a few years ago. That is when I switched to the “old” Nucoa.

    For us old folks, the reformulated Nucoa is reminiscent of the first margarines made but without the little yellow coloring packet.

    This stuff is horrible.

  9. Brigitte Fox, MS, RD says:

    As a registered dietitian and sufferer of multiple food allergies, I was concerned about the ingredients of the new Nucoa Buttery Sticks. Not only have I used Nucoa margarine exclusively myself for years, but I have recommended it to all my clients with milk allergies. However, when I phoned GFA Brands, I was assured that Nucoa Buttery Sticks are still all vegan, and that the lactic acid in the product is derived from corn, not from milk. (I suggested to the company representative, that those facts be displayed on the carton as well as in the ingredient list in order to avoid unnecessary confusion among us Nucoa customers). In addition, I learned that the beta carotene in Nucoa is derived from annatto seeds, not from carrots – a fact that may be of interest/importance to those who are allergic to carrots as I am. Nonetheless – I,too, would like the company to bring back our “old Nucoa” margarine – the one we obviously all love and have used faithfully for many different reasons.
    Brigitte Fox, MS, RD

  10. A. Marz says:

    I too was a life-long Nucoa user, cubes as a kid, the tubs later (until they ruined it) and then back to the cubes. Tried their new “buttery sticks,” threw them in the trash. Are they stupid, or just feel compelled to try to compete with the other tasteless “healthy” margarine? I’m sure they have noticed the lack of sales. (My local Ralph’s doesn’t even carry it anymore, sales were so poor). For a while, I scrounged the backs of the shelves of my local grocery stores, and bought all the “Real Margarine” I could find. Alas, that is nearly gone. Tried half a dozen alternatives, closest I’ve found is Kroger’s “Value Spread.” I will try the Challenge butter next.

  11. lorna power says:

    I am 62 and have used nucoa all my life, my mother was a fabulous baker and baked with it also. Why would you change it, the new nucoa it terrible and i will not use it anymore. come back with the old reciepe and if someone is complaining about the ingrediants, they don’t have to buy it. I will not buy anymore until you bring the old back. It is awful.

  12. vadra says:

    I am not a ‘life time’ user of Nucoa. I discovered Nucoa margine just 2 lbs ago because of newly diagnosed food allergies, and dairy was the most severe. I was thankful to find something I could use safely and enjoy the taste. These new buttery sticks are forcing me to go back to plain toast and potatoes again. Your new customer is no more.

  13. brad Pearson says:

    I have in my hand two 1# packages of Nucoa with the new label. One has “79% NATURAL VEGETABLE OILS” and the other “65% NATURAL VEGETABLE OILS.” Ingredients are slightly different on both boxes. Nutrition label of each doesn’t match label I found on I don’t know how these two products compare to each other tastewise but everything I’ve eaten from boxes with the new labels taste like crap(as kind a word as I could find), won’t melt, greasy, makes all foods it is used on not worth a damn. Been using for 40 years and am, of course, disappointed. The only margarine I could find at Walmart was Great Value, Walmart’s store brand. I purchased one and found it acceptable and may very well continue to use it. For you folks who need to know, it DOES contain buttermilk solids. The only thing I can suggest is…don’t buy crap. Maybe they’ll reformulate back to the original product. Don’t know what to do with the 3 pounds of “new” Nucoa in the frig. Walmart probably won’t take them back without the reciept. Maybe I can pack them into my grease gun and lubricate my farm equipment with the stuff. Probably it’ll work as good or better than the expensive axle grease I currently use!

  14. Steve says:

    New Nucoa is nasty! Spread it on toast and you have soggy toast! I find it similar to those cheap tubs of soft margarine.Haven’t bought a pound of Nucoa since I tasted the new buttery sticks. Is it the same as that buttery seasoning you get at the movies?…..tastes like it.

  15. Eda Bankie says:

    I tried to make Christmas cookies with the new Nucoa, but they didn’t taste the same and the dough didn’t roll out or hold together well when I was trying to make sugar cookies. It was upsetting considering how much work goes into Chritmas cookies and how one anticipates them as a special yearly treat. The taste isn’t as good as the old Nucoa either. So the question is: why did someone change the recipe? I’d like to know.

  16. Brad Pearson says:

    I called Nucoa to see what gives. Told them the Buttery Sticks didn’t taste right, would not melt, etc, bla, bla. Their answer in a word: TOUGH! Guess I need to find a new favorite margarine because I’ll never buy Buttery Sticks again. I agree with the previous poster who said it’s NASTY.

  17. Thank goodness I googled NUCOA tonight – at least I’m not crazy! Every negative adjective & comment I’ve read above reflects my disapppointment in that my old, tried & true, NUCOA margarine has subtly (without asking me) been replaced by the disgusting “Buttery Sticks”. They do not work for my cooking, baking or my palate. They are in my trash as I write.
    NUCOA – please listen to us…….if we don’t buy your product, you don’t go to the bank.

  18. Lyn Dominguez says:

    GFA and Smart Balance are the makers of this product called “buttery sticks’. The fact exemplified here is that nobody likes the “new” product, period and will not use it. Myself and others have called, e-mailed, and written the company to no avail. All we get is a stupid auto reply. It is clear that they don’t care what the customer has to say.

    It is my goal with a “bring back original Nucoa Margarine” facebook page to gather as many people as possible who know, love, and depend on this product to show this company that we want our ORIGINAL back!!! I really believe that if we all continue to put pressure on this company we will get our product back. After all, who cares if their new product is “healthier” if nobody buys or eats it!!!

  19. Sarah says:

    I grew up on Nucoa and have used it exclusively in my household. I was very disappointed to find out that it had changed. I tried it on pasta and it doesn’t melt well at all and the taste is terrible.

    I tried the Grocery store version of Margarine and it seems fine for the 1st test run. For baking, I just used regular butter during the Christmas season and that worked out well too.

    I will not be buying anymore Nucoa. What a waste. Bring back the old recipe!

  20. Rick Mcelhose says:

    Buttery Sticks?!! Are you freaking kidding me???!!
    All they’re good for now is greasing the rollers on my garage door!!!
    Why not just call them lard sticks?
    You have lost a lifetime customer in Seattle.

  21. Sue says:

    I thought it was just me, but now that I have read all these posts. I am looking for another butter this is the worst stuff they could of ever put out on the market. I really love the other stuff I’d like to see it come back. The sad part is I have 10 pound of this stuff in my frezer and paid a huge price for it and now have nothing to use it on. I also have found that if you do not clean your dishes that might have this crap on them it will leave a mess on all dishes in your dish washer a thick film that does not come off very easy. I agree you people have lost another customer from Vancouver Wa

  22. Sil says:

    I agree with everyone the Nucoa buttery sticks are nasty, Might as well spread butter flavor crisco on our toast.I have a son who is 100% lactose intolerent Nucoa was the only Margerine we used.after 23 years of using Nucoa Ihave no idea what to use now.How do we get the old Nucoa back????

  23. Donna says:

    Another customer lost. We will not buy this new Nucoa anymore.
    Same as others, greasy and will not melt, tastes bad.

  24. Cindy says:

    This is a sad sad thing. This is the worst tasting product and the texture is terrible. Like biting into lard. I have used Nucoa margarine for years for everything. It was the best for baking!! I tried the “new” Nucoa for cookies and they turned out like shi*. They have lost my business. If I find out anything else that is manfactured or distributed by them, I will not buy that either.

  25. Shannon says:

    I have used Nucoa for decades. Was excited to find that our grandson who is allergic to dairy, was able to eat my baking if Nucoa was used. Hooray for the tried and true….UNTIL this change in formulation. What were the makers thinking? It tastes awful, refuses to melt, and makes baked goods that have been delicious before, taste and bake NASTY! Hmmm, wondering if the big conglomerate now in control of the company, wanted to see Nucoa disappear. Well they may have found a way by manufacturing this new recipe, or maybe they went to a cheap Chinese import with inappropriate fillers. Whatever the cause, until they bring back the original Nucoa recipe, many will leave the patronage. MAYBE we all need to boycott any product by the conglomerate, until they stop messing with the products we love!!!!

  26. Chuck says:

    We, too are very disappointed in the change that NUCOA made. Being lactose intolerant it was the only magarine with taste. Now that is gone. They have lost my $$ for any of this crap. I am glad others are noticing it as well, and speaking up. I doubt they will change it though. It’s too bad we can’t locate a customer rep. to send all these emails too.

  27. Charlene says:

    Obviosely you don’t care about your loyal users. The new product is horrible. What are you thinking. You need to suck up your mistake and go back to the good product. What are you thinking, not in your right minds. I don’t want to find another product I want the old product back. Why can’t you put both on the market.

  28. MARY ANN says:

    The new Nucoa is GROSS. It will ruin anything you bake with it. If the DO GOODERS will stay out of everyone’s business this would not happen. If I want to eat trans fat, let me eat it. It should be my choice not theirs.

  29. Davina Wright says:

    I have also been a lifetime user of Nucoa. My mother had an allergy to milk products. This is the secret ingredient to my cookies and cakes. The new buttery sticks are nasty. I put them in the trash as well. When I sent a letter to the company that makes Nucoa I got the feeling that they don’t care. Please, please bring back the orig Nucoa Margarine. I look forward to that day.

  30. Katrin says:

    It breaks my heart to hear that the margarine is gone. I have been running all over the place to find the margarine – nothing, only the Buttery Sticks are available. I have not bought any so far and after reading all these comments I better save my money. But what will I use for my baking and cooking??????????????? My daugther is allergic to milk. What can I use to make Rice Krispy treats – ANYONE????? Please help. I am sad.

  31. Chris says:

    I know it seems silly to be upset about a product change, but Nucoa was the reason for my fudge tasting so creamy all those years and still able to hold it’s shape while sitting on a platter. It was the reason for my chocolate chip cookies being favored over others.
    The sticks I have unwrapped don’t even have a solid coloring through them. They have a marbled look of a lighter yellow and almost a Crisco white look and feel to them.
    Just tonight someone asked me if I used Crisco to make the batch of cookies (made that mistake before) they commented it tasted the same as when I had used Crisco. First time ever that a batch of cookies has not been polished off by the kids. Only change was using the new Nucoa.

  32. Erma Foreman says:

    I’ve used nothing but nucoa for 55+ years and was very happy with the product…no longer. Why the water added? and taste changed. When you have a great product why change it to garbage. I will go strictly with BUTTER, until you bring back the origanal Nucoa. I am assuming you moved to MEXICO too.

  33. Fran Johns says:

    I have used Nucoa (or Nucco?) since 1964 and I HATE this NEW stuff. It tastes as bad as Crockery spread. It no longer melts down into your bread, biscuit etc and the taste if terrible. PLEASE bring back the old Nucoa that used to be good. I am now shopping for, after 47 years, a different product that will taste like and spread like the good old margarine that I used to use.

  34. Des Sievers says:

    I have been delighted using NUCOA margarine since about 1960, as best I can recall. I have worked in a grocery store and told people to buy it. BUT SOME IDIOT CHANGED THE FORMULA. The new product is TERRIBLE.After 50 YEARS I’m switching to a different company.

  35. Susan Eppich says:

    I am severely allergic to cow’s milk protein as well as the lactic acid, and felt betrayed when coming to the West
    to visit family to discover that ‘Nucoa’ was no more. I had been in the habit of taking 20 lbs home each time we came for a visit, as it freezes well.
    There are other spreads that could be used on toast, but
    ‘Nucoa’ was the only margarine that could be used successfully for baking and making candy.
    With all the Vegans, Vegetarians and people with milk allergies, surely we represented a great portion of the general population and provided much of the revenue of
    this company. It would also be a useful ingredient for
    companies who provide ready made bread for grocery stores.
    At this point there are only 1-2 breads sold across the
    country that do not contain milk or a derivative of it.
    If the old ‘Nucoa’ recipe was re-established, breads made
    with it would taste very good and it would be safe for
    people with food allergies to eat, and additional income
    for the Company.

  36. AngieChavez says:

    I can no longer make my the brownies that my kids love so much, the old NUCOA gave them that extra taste that no other butter can, UGH!!!! why? I ask, why? would anyone try and fix something that’s not broken?? I am no longer a customer.
    You have ruined only yourself by putting out a product that is AWFUL!! shame on you for ruining many old recipes of mine as i am sure of many.

  37. MThorpe says:

    what happened to the old Nucoa?! the new stuff tastes like Crisco! The old recipe was the best margarine I have ever tasted! bring it back.

  38. Vicky Y says:

    Vicky Y.

    Nasty nasty nasty. I can’t believe nucoa changed. I have used it all my life. My Mother used it It used to taste great. Now just nasty n asty nasty

  39. Barbara S says:

    Just finished washing a greasy yellow residue out of my pan and came to see if other’s were as disgusted as I–surprise. Will revert to butter when my milk-allergic daughter isn’t here. Beyond that I’ll try some of the suggestions here. I suppose it was profit that drove the unannounced change, but they’ll have to get from someone else!

  40. Rick Mcelhose says:

    Ive got it! Rename them Shitty Lard Sticks!

  41. Mike Scott says:

    I landed here like so many others after Googling around trying to figure out why the product is so weird. After all, it melts poorly on toast, has a weird texture, and the taste isn’t all that great. The only excuse I’ve been able to come up with is Nucoa/Smart Balance may be trying to bring a healthier (non-trans fat) spread to the value market segment, i.e. under $1 at my local Kroger. That puts it up against store and generic brands, which come loaded with trans-fats…but which also tend to taste much better. BTW, it did OK doing an onion and garlic saute in preparation of a curry dish. But ghee it definitely ain’t.

  42. brad pearson says:

    I see a lot of comments comparing Nucoa Buttery Sticks to Crisco. I will agree with the comparison in their raw form, but Crisco makes the BEST cookies, even better than butter. My wife, a baker for 50 years, told me that but I didn’t believe anything would be better than real butter but it is. She proved it to me. Now I only use Crisco for our Chocolate-Chip cookies and Oatmeal-Nut cookies.

  43. I got on to find out how to complain to the company about Nucoa and was surprised to find it is not just me that notices a difference. I am 72 and have used the cubes all my adult life (learned from Mom) and don’t tell me the receipe is not different. It no longer melts on my toast or hot vegetables and is not a solid color when I open the package. It looks like it is old and it is every package for the last few months. If it stays this way I will no longer buy it.

  44. Bonnie Carrere says:

    I can’t make my pie crust anymore! Whenever I took a pie somewhere, people would always eat the crust and rave about it. The first time I used the new “Nucoa” to make my crust, I thought the flour had gone bad. It sure wasn’t the flour. This lard won’t melt, won’t spread, looks and tastes like crap, and I’m not spending another nickel on it. If they bring back the old Nucoa that we all know and love, I’ll buy the stores out around here that stock it.

  45. Jan Freitas says:

    At least glad to read the above comments relative to the “new” Nucoa. I’m with them….I want my old Nucoa back. This new stuff doesn’t melt, burns in the fry pan, and is generally yucky. I was raised on the real deal, and my folks used it as long as I can remember. I have searched all grocery stores in my area here in CA, to no avail. Finally had grocery customer service folks look it up..on the computer it says it’s discontinued. I’ve tried alternatives, to no avail. However, I purchased Land O’ Lakes Butter with Olive Oil yesterday. Tastes almost like the old Nucoa. Higher fat content, but I’m desperate for the taste. Hoping this will work out. Good luck to all of you in the same boat as I.

  46. Nareece Calderon says:

    As a dedicated Nucoa user since birth (more than a half decade ago) all I have to say is: Ditto to all the above.

  47. judy dalton says:

    I am 53 years old and my mama used Nucoa and that is all I remember using besides real butter. About 2 months ago I thought I had got a bad batch of it. It would not melt, could not spread on toast yuck! So I took it back and got some more same thing. They had to have changed their recipe. I am a baker and have always used this. I guess I will start trying some of the suggestions above using real butter.

  48. TJ Workman says:

    Another customer lost.The new product made me ill. So sorry to see the old recipe go. The old product was the answer to my lactose-free and other food allergy cooking needs.

  49. Bobbye Akers says:

    I am 64 years old & have been eating nucoa all my life, as it was all that my Mother would use. You can fry with it & it won’t burn ,great for baking, mashed potatoes, everything we used margarine on. Now it tastes like crap and I’ve had to start using real butter. Please start making it the old way so I can get back to that good flavor in my food. I was so surprised to see it wasn”t just me that thought something was wrong, I’ve been cutting off part of the cube thats discolored thinking I was buying old product. Then decided to look you up to see what you had done to it and found these other Nucoa Lovers!!!!! We’ve been loyal users all these years as our mothers were help us out please…. Thank You

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