A processed food product used as an inexpensive substitute for butter, made primarily from refined vegetable oils, sometimes including animal fats, and churned with skim milk to form a semisolid emulsion; also called oleomargarine; artificial butter.
Solid cooking fat invented as a butter substitute. Made from vegetable oils,flavorings, and emusifiers, it must contain 80% oil, products with less oil are often called "spreads".
Margarine was invented in the 1860s by a French chemist as a cheap replacement for butter. Nowadays it is bought as a product in its own right, frequently in the belief that it is a healthier option than butter. There are many types available using different fats and with differing flavours and uses. Some are purely vegetable-based, containing no animal products at all, and are labelled dairy-free or vegan. Others contain a mixture of animal and vegetable fats. Some are designed for spreading, and others are hard and designed for baking. All margarine contains as much fat as butter, but some are lower in cholesterol and saturated fats.