Butter and vegan alternatives in Ireland

Whenever I come home to Ireland I have the dilemma of which kind of butter to buy: conventional dairy-based butter or plant-based vegan butter. In California, the choice is pretty straightforward – it’s now fairly easy to find good-quality, ethical and affordable vegan butters, such as Miyoko’s cultured butter. In Ireland, however, the choice is not so clear, as I’ll explain over the next couple of posts. Or at least it wasn’t a clear choice at first…

My childhood summers usually involved a visit to my aunt and uncle’s dairy farm in County Kerry, and I grew up with the impression that milk from grass-fed cows was much less weighed down with ethical issues compared to the meat industry or intensive dairies. This still seems true to me in recent years when I buy milk or cheese from the better cooperatives in California. Across the bay from San Francisco, Straus Organic Dairy in Marin seems quite bucolic, with cows roaming green fields for most of the year.

And, don’t get me wrong, it is true that these farms are much better than intensive operations. But there are some universal ethical issues with dairy, regardless of where it comes from.

herd of white and black cows on grass field. Butter and vegan alternatives in Ireland.
Photo by Lukas Hartmann on Pexels.com

I ended up spending some time looking into the ethical issues with dairy farming so I’m going to dedicate the next post to this topic. I want to keep it as a separate post in case you’d prefer to avoid it since it’s mostly about animal welfare (a disturbing topic for many, but I’ll keep the language neutral). The following post will look at some of the plant-based butters available in Ireland and attempt to find the best options.

It would be good to get your input on this – please comment below if you recommend a particular brand or would like me to investigate one.

7 thoughts on “Butter and vegan alternatives in Ireland

  1. What are your thoughts on Naturli vegan spread? It’s palm oil free and I like the taste – it also doesn’t make the toast soggy as the fat content is quite high I believe.

    I really really love dairy butter though and find it hard not to buy, especially as the packaging is mostly plastic free, if not recyclable/compostable. I’ve heard that Kerrygold (allegedly from pasture fed cows) is one of the more ethical.

    Would be interested in your comments on both the above.

    1. Hi Tash,
      Yes! I’ve just become aware of Naturli and will be buying some to try soon. I believe you can buy it at Dunnes..?
      So far, I’ve been scouting the vegan spreads in Lidl, Aldi, Tesco and M&S and all contain palm oil. So in the post after the next one, I’ll take a look at some of those palm oil spreads (Flora, etc.) and also at Naturli.
      Glad that you’re enjoying Naturli and thanks for the tip.
      I share your thoughts on Kerrygold. Two of my uncles/aunts in Kerry were dairy farmers and one was part of the Kerry Cooperative. The next post will look at the ethics dairy farming, in general.
      Thanks for your comment!
      James

  2. Hey, it’s funny, I was just going to follow up with you via your blog: Miyoko was on sale at the local Dillions, and I tried it again. That strange sweet-ish aftertaste that reoccurred the multiple times I tried is, is gone. I can’t even tell the difference between that and the Kerry butter, now.

  3. Hiya. Big fans here of Naturli spreadable and block. Neither claim to have palm oil and the taste is really good. Violife is another fav of ours – block butter. (Their greek cheese (feta) is my fav.) Again, no palm oil. However, will look forward to your review and to your recommends on new brands that I might need to try.

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