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“Original” Smart Balance Starting to Reappear

Last fall, we spotlighted how Smart Balance sneakily reduced the oil content of its buttery spread from 64-percent fat to only 39-percent. Regular users noticed because at the time they posted more than 800 one-star reviews criticizing Conagra for watering down the recipe. That number has since swelled to over 2,200!

The company said they were trying to make the product more spreadable. No, they were trying to save money on ingredients thinking the public wouldn’t notice or care. In any event, after hearing all the complaints, they promised to bring back the “original” recipe by the beginning of 2023, and it is now starting to reappear on store shelves. Thanks to reader Mario C. for spotting it.


Smart Balance reshelved

But just as inconspicuously as the product went from 64-percent to 39-percent oil, the change back is just as opaque. The resurrected version is not emblazoned with a big “new and improved” starburst or any other obvious package modification to let you know of the change back. You have to check the tiny numbers in the bottom left hand corner to see if what you’re buying is the 39-percent version or the 64-percent version.

And don’t go by the best by date on the package. In the above example, the watered-down 39-percent oil version has a later freshness date than the 64-percent oil version just coming back on store shelves.

We asked Conagra when the transition would be complete and if they had any general comments to make. A company spokesperson said this in a statement:

We are currently producing Small [sic] Balance with the original recipe, which consumers will see on store shelves in the coming months. There will be a period of time when both Smart Balance recipes are on shelf as we make the transition.

We can only hope that the Conagra margarine debacle will make other companies think twice before quietly skimping on key ingredients in their products. But don’t count on it. We’re afraid that skimpflation is here to stay.

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17 thoughts on ““Original” Smart Balance Starting to Reappear”

  1. I’m glad they switched the recipe back, but I doubt they actually learned anything from this. Likely they’re just going to find some other way to cut costs instead.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight because I don’t buy Smart Balance, but I’d suggest Smart Balance customers keep their eyes open.

  2. For those of us with high cholesterol, statin-adverse, and therefore on a fat restricted diet, 39% is preferable to 64%. The product “I can’t believe it’s not butter” (light) is 28% fat; butter is 82-85% fat. Secondly, probably everyone should watch their intake of saturated and hydrogenated fats.

  3. Well at least they brought back the 64% version of the product when they said they would BUTTTTT at the time of this comment we have over 2200 1 stars reviews on the official product page.

    That brand is going to feel damage for many more months.

  4. The thing I noticed was that the spread would not melt unless you had a lot higher temperature, and the taste was not as good as the original. I will not be purchasing this product again.

  5. Now I know why I had issues with freezing this product. It never used to be an issue, but if you freeze the 39% product all the water separates when you thaw it and the spread is just not edible.

  6. Best Food is now whipping air into their overpriced mayonnaise. Same volume, less product, I will find another brand or start making my own.

  7. Glad to hear it’s finally coming back. Been checking every week. Are there ever any discount coupons offered for smart balance?

  8. I immediatly stopped buying it when they changed from smart balance to not so smart balance, it was all I used for many yrs, been using real butter since they ruined it

  9. I’m still waiting. For a little while there were a few of the small size 64%, but now in my local store everything big and small is the 39%; horrible stuff.

  10. Seeing the same here locally, 64% stuff appeared for a little while, then the 39% suddenly repopulated the shelves everywhere – maybe some huge forgotten stockpile was discovered and released. Catch-22: 39% crap with dates that currently go out to October are stocked on the shelves, won’t sell and won’t get pulled for expired sell by date, so dairy managers (who don’t *really* care anyway) are caught in a bind and sit on their orders for new 64% stock until October, and Conagra has no incentive to produce more, etc. Maybe see the new stuff by then unless customers complain loudly to local store mgt. in numbers (not likely). It is hard to have to accept the fact that NO companies care one whit about their customers anymore. But then, if things were as they should be, this site wouldn’t exist and what fun would that be?

  11. I was so thrilled when I noticed the 64% instead of the 39, I was just overjoyed, What they did was just awful, I had to throw out a whole tub of that 39% crap and just started using butter, that was really a bad move, advertising the original and having it be that crap they put in the container, that was the worst of anything I have ever tried, so dishonest and misleading, I hope the people responsible for changing it in the first place were replaced, talk about greed, Damn!!! Im just glad it’s back

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