Types Of Products

The products within the margarine and yellow fat spread category may be classified in any of several groups. Most relevant is grouping by physical form, which follows function.

Solid

Solid products are bulk cubes of 50 lb or 25 kg (55 lb), packed for institutional food processing or food service consumption. These products are typically formulated specifically for the intended use and generally are of firmer structure and higher solid fat content than retail margarine. Typical use is in general baking, with additional usage in layered pastries. Other types of solid margarine are brick and stick.

Brick margarine is typically of 1 lb net weight, wrapped in paper or foil laminate, and packed 24 to 35 lb per case. Customary uses are in general cooking, shallow pan frying, basting, and the like. The products are similar to retail formulations in texture, flavor, and consistency.

Stick margarines are made for household kitchen and table use and are typically packaged four sticks to the pound. These products are packaged first in paper or laminated foil, then in a carton of paperboard. Cases contain 12 to 36 lb. The lower-weight cases are recent developments to address inventory-management programs among grocers, who count case turnover in lieu of actual poundage. In the United States, two styles of stick margarine are found. The eastern stick is sold east of the Rocky Mountains and is packed either in flat units or in two-over-two cartons. The western-style product is shorter in length but larger in width and breadth. The two styles arose from availability of packaging equipment in the respective market areas. Solid margarine is also packaged in individual servings of 5 to 14 g, distributed via food service operators.

Soft

Soft products are generally intended for direct use, as for spreading on breads. Retail products are packed in twin cups of 8 oz net weight, sleeved two per pound, or in 16-oz tubs. Margarine that conforms to the U.S. Standard of Identity may not be sold in packages greater than 1 lb at retail. Many lower-fat spreads are packaged for retail sale in units of 2 or 3 lb or more. Soft products for food service use include portion-control cups of 5, 7, 10, or 14 g. Soft product is occasionally seen in single-serving pouches.

Whipped products are soft or stick products to which nitrogen is injected at manufacture, with the primary intent being expansion in volume for economy of serving. Typical volume expansion is about 50%, yielding 6 sticks per pound, or 24 fluid ounces at net weight of 16 oz.

Liquid margarines are typically formulated to be resistant to solidification at refrigerated temperatures while maintaining structure of the emulsion. Typical uses are as a topping for hot vegetables, waffles, pancakes, and popcorn.

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