Earlier this month, Country Crock quietly changed the recipe for its original margarine recipe to remove preservatives and artificial flavors, following in the footsteps of several major food companies. But now fans are not happy.
In a press release from Aug. 3, Mike Faherty, General Manager of Baking, Cooking & Spreads at Unilever, the company that makes the spread, said the move was a response to consumers “who are asking more from today's food brands to deliver great tasting products that they can trust and are made with fewer, simpler ingredients. In making these changes, we remain true to our brand heritage by bringing the country fresh taste families know and love.”
The new “simple recipe” consists of 10 ingredients, including soybean oil, salt, vinegar, natural flavors, palm kernel, palm oil, and beta carotene for color. In the release, the brand reiterates the simpler version will still be a great cooking tool and taste pretty much the same.
But Country Crock lovers say the “healthier” product has seriously missed the mark on taste.
After the new product appeared in stores, Country Crock’s official website and Facebook page has been flooded with negative product reviews. From poor product consistency, to horrible taste, the new spread appears to be turning lifelong Crock users away from the product for good.
“Revolting is too nice a word for this review… this stuff is completely inedible as in it literally ruins whatever food you just had the unfortunate experience to have placed in your mouth,” commented Momof3.
“New recipe is terrible!!! I made toast for my grandson and he spit it out and said it was ruined,” wrote Sceetus.
“What have you all done??????????? You have to be kidding me! I have used your spread for years! I bought the new stiff[sic] the other day and literally gagged when I tasted it. Why did u change the recipe? Was it broke??????? I hate, hate, hate it,” wrote a very upset user Granny40383.
Many are begging Unilever to switch back to the old formula.
For its part, Country Crock has been apologizing and issuing standard replies to upset consumers, urging them to contact their customer service department or hotline. On Facebook, the company explained the rationale behind the new watery formula:
"We carefully crafted our new simpler recipes to ensure we deliver a delicious spread with a country fresh taste that was made from real, simple ingredients. It’s important to note that both the new simpler spreads recipes and simpler mixing process require different amounts of higher-quality ingredients; purified water is an important ingredient and is used to meet these high-quality standards."
Country Crock released a statement to FoxNews.com, saying:
"At Country Crock, we value our extremely loyal fan base, and listened to their desire for products made with fewer, simpler ingredients. This was the motivation for our recipe change and one we believe in. We understand this change may be difficult and may not be embraced by everyone. We will continue to listen to our consumers, and encourage those with questions to visit our website at www.countrycrock.com/help/faq."