Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan Butter raised the bar in the vegan dairy space and paved the way for more innovation at Miyoko’s Creamery (and elsewhere). I already reviewed Miyoko’s Farmhouse Cheddar, and will soon be trying out Miyoko’s mozzarella and cheese wheels that I picked up at the Grocery Outlet, recently. I’ve been regularly buying the 16 oz. (1 lb) packs of Miyoko’s European Style Cultured Vegan Butter at the Grocery Outlet this year – its only $5.99, about the price you pay for 8 oz. at Whole Foods/Amazon.
What’s immediately appealing about the butter is the minimal packaging – two 8 oz. blocks of butter are wrapped in waxed paper and enclosed in a cardboard box. It’s pretty similar to regular dairy butter in that respect, and also in the sense that it’s best left out of the fridge for a little while before using. I do also like to cut a thin layer off a cold block, lay it on a slice of warm toast and eat it as it melts in. Wild, eh?
In terms of taste and texture, it’s my favorite vegan butter – it’s not exactly the same as dairy butter but the slightly tangy flavor is different in a good way. I also really like Miyoko’s cultured oat milk butter, which is a tiny bit sweeter but also very butter-like. Kite Hill makes a good vegan butter but I think it’s less sustainable than Miyoko’s butter (I gave it 3.5 Green Stars). Califia oat milk butter was really nice and made with interesting ingredients (like tiger nuts) but, sadly, they discontinued it.
So, I want to make a point about vegan products – don’t take them for granted because their success depends entirely on your support. And many of these small companies have to put up with a lot of pressure and bullying from conventional industry groups.
Miyoko’s Creamery wins court case over labeling laws
I’m going to write a post about this over on Green Stars, because it’s an issue that crops up again and again. Basically, Miyoko’s Creamery was told by the California Department of Food and Agriculture that it couldn’t use terms like butter on packaging. Long story short, Miyoko didn’t take this lying down – here she is, telling the story:
Miyoko’s cultured vegan butter – ingredients
Organic Coconut oil, Organic Cultured Cashew Milk (Filtered Water, Organic Cashews, Cultures), Filtered Water, Organic Sunflower Oil, Organic Sunflower Lecithin, Sea Salt
Non-GMO • Lactose Free • Gluten Free • Soy Free • Palm Oil Free • Kosher • Contains Nuts
It’s mainly composed of coconut, cashew nut, and sunflower oil, all of which are organic. The cashew milk is cultured (fermented) and that’s what gives this butter its complex flavors.
Sourcing cashews for Miyoko’s vegan butter
A while back, I wrote to Miyoko to ask about their cashew sourcing policy (as there are a few ethical issues that come with cashew production) and received this response:
Thanks for reaching out to us about this important issue. Our organic cashews are sustainably sourced from Vietnam. The company from whom we purchase them has undergone a Social Responsibility Audit to ensure that they treat all employees fairly, pay a living wage, allow appropriate time off and shifts of a reasonable length, do not employ child labor, and have safe and appropriate facilities for employees to work in. In addition, the company only processes and packages cashews grown on farms in their sustainable network.
Since then, Miyoko’s Creamery has actually made a video to provide more information on cashew sourcing and processing in Vietnam:
Miyoko’s Creamery took the welcome (and rare) step of disclosing all major suppliers, spanning ingredients, engineering, and shipping. The company also commissioned a life-cycle assessment (LCA), which estimates that the carbon footprint of Miyoko’s butter is 21 times lower than that of dairy butter.
Ethical rating for Miyoko’s cultured vegan butter
There are only a few companies that I’ve rated 5/5 Green Stars on this site – for example, Nature’s Path, Spero, and Alter Eco. I’m happy to say that Miyoko’s Creamery is definitely up there too.
Here’s a summary of how I feel about the social and environmental impact of Miyoko’s vegan butter, which I’m scoring 5 Green Stars:
- It’s a vegan product, as are all Miyoko’s Creamery products.
- All of the ingredients are organic.
- The packaging consists of compostable waxed paper and recyclable cardboard box that’s responsibly sourced (by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative).
- The carbon footprint of Miyoko’s vegan butter is 21 times lower than that of dairy butter.
- Processing of organic cashews in Vietnam is performed safely, and workers receive decent pay and benefits (see video, above).
- Miyoko’s Creamery has been a leader in the field of responsible vegan dairy products.
- During lockdown, Miyoko’s Food Truck distributed 15,000 free grilled cheese sandwiches around the US to promote cruelty-free vegan cheese.
- All products are free of palm oil.
- Miyoko runs a sanctuary for rescued farm animals.
- Woman-owned (& minority-owned) company that does well on transparency.
- Certified B-Corporation.
Summary scores (out of 5) for Miyoko’s cultured vegan butter:
- 4.5 gold stars for quality and value
- 5 green stars for social and environmental impact
If you have a different opinion, please share your rating! Until next time, stay safe : )