Published On: Wed, May 11th, 2016

Tesco Launches “Healthy” Vegan Spreads, But There’s a Catch…

British supermarket chain Tesco have launched two new ‘healthy’ vegan spreads, one coconut-based, the other avocado-oil based, as dairy-free alternatives to butter or margarine. However, they’re not as healthy as you might think…

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It seems there’s no chance of the avocado craze going away anytime soon, as Tesco has just released its very own avocado spread. The product, which has a “neutral flavour”, costs £1.20 for a 260g pack and is designed to be used on bread, crackers and other savoury items instead of margarine or butter.

The Telegraph have noted the strategic timing of the release of the avocado spread, as Britain is reportedly experiencing an “avocado boom“, due to increased celebrity endorsements, a growing awareness of its health benefits, and even due to lower costs for the fruit in supermarkets. The avocado spread will be available in 400 outlets throughout Britain.

Dean Rawlinson, Tesco’s spreads buyer, stated:

“Shoppers can’t get enough of avocados which have become extremely popular on account of their great taste, versatility in food and drinks as well as for their nutritional benefits. With this, the UK’s first ever avocado spread, our product developers have created a new and exciting way for shoppers to benefit from the excellent health credentials of avocados in even more ways.”

The new spread is made primarily using avocado oil, but it also contains rapeseed oil and palm oil.  And while the product is being marketed as a healthy vegan spread packed with omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin A and D, the spread is actually enriched with the latter two.  And the coconut spread appears to be no better, as it is also made with palm-oil, and enriched with vitamin A and D.

According to Charlotte Stirling-Reed of SR Nutrition, taking a closer look at the ingredients might surprise some consumers:

“The spread is actually only around one quarter avocado oil with the rest of the spread being made up of mainly water and mixed vegetable oils, including palm oil which is a saturated fat.”

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This is disappointing news for vegans looking for new dairy-free spreads as not only is palm-oil a saturated fat, it is also shrouded in controversy due to the fact that the industry is linked to deforestation, habitat degradation, climate change, animal cruelty and indigenous rights abuses in the countries where it is produced, as the land and forests must be cleared for the development of the oil palm plantations. This means that many vegans choose not to include palm oil in their diet.

So, whilst it is always great to have new vegan options available, we hope the product developers can revisit the recipe and create healthier, palm oil-free options that vegans can enjoy in the future!

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