Smart Balance butter substitute literally ‘watered down’: customers

Smart Balance, a popular butter substitute made by ConAgra, has admitted to recently changing its formula — with angry customers complaining that the spread has been literally “watered down.”

Conagra Brands tinkered with the ingredients of the dairy-free spread over the summer — and now water is listed as the first ingredient on the revamped tubs instead of as the second, according to a side-by-side comparison by ConsumerWorld.org, an education website. 

Likewise, the labeling on the new tubs indicates they contain 39% vegetable oil compared with previous labeling for the old tubs that had showed 64% vegetable oil, the site notes.

In response, some 836 customers have given the product a one-star rating out of five, calling the new spread “inedible,” “horrible,” “disgusting” and “weird tasting.” One customer compared it to “wet plaster.”

“I’ve used this product for years but I’m done….it’s nasty!!,” wrote one customer on the company’s website. Another customer expressed bewilderment: “What in the world did you do to Smart Balance.”

Conagra blamed a “formula change” without offering specifics. The company said it’s “working on getting the old formula back on shelf,” which it expects to happen by late fall/early winter,” the company said on its website.

Chicago-based Conagra did not immediately respond to requests for further comment.

A side-by-side comparison of the new and old Smart Balance tubs.
The new tubs list water as the first ingredient instead of vegetable oils.
ConsumerWorld.org
Smart Balance customers sound off about the ingredient changes on the company's website.
Smart Balance customers sound off about the ingredient changes on the company’s website.
Smart Balance
Conagra's explanation for the bad taste of Smart Balance.
Conagra explained that it hopes to revert back to the previous formulation by early winter.
Smart Balance

“Companies are always  looking at ways to cut their costs and certainly water is cheaper than oil, but did Conagra do research and taste tests on this,” Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org told The Post. “How does  a multi-billion-dollar company put out this literally watered down product?”

Confusingly, verbiage on ConAgra’s website for Smart Balance currently claims that “while other spreads have increased the water they contain, we’ve taken water out because a spread with less water performs better for cooking, baking and spreading.”