Is Imperial Margarine Vegan and Cruelty-Free?

July 25, 2023

Choosing a vegan lifestyle can often feel like a maze because determining whether or not a product like Imperial Margarine is vegan can be quite challenging. 

The difficulty arises primarily from manufacturers who often disguise the true nature and source of their ingredients. 

Fear not, for this article will serve as your guide, cutting through the fog to reveal the truth about Imperial Margarine and assist you on your journey towards a healthier, compassionate, and earth-friendly vegan lifestyle.

Is Imperial Margarine Vegan?

Regrettably, Imperial Margarine is not fully vegan. The primary reason is its composition, which includes some ingredients that aren’t necessarily compatible with a strict vegan diet. Imperial Margarine is made up of a vegetable oil blend, which includes soybean oil, palm oil, and palm kernel oil. 

While these plant based oils might seem vegan friendly, the sourcing and production process for palm oil and palm kernel oil, in particular, are problematic due to their significant impact on the environment and wildlife, which many strict vegans consider contrary to the vegan ethos of causing no harm.

Additionally, Imperial Margarine contains natural and artificial flavors, which are often vague terms that can hide non-vegan ingredients. Similarly, vitamin A palmitate, a form of vitamin A that can be derived from both plant and animal sources, is also present in this margarine, but the exact source in this product is not specified. 

For these reasons, it is safer for strict vegans to consider Imperial Margarine as not fully vegan.

Is Imperial Margarine Cruelty-Free?

While the product doesn’t directly use ingredients derived from animal slaughter, it’s important to note that being cruelty-free is more than just avoiding animal-derived ingredients. 

Imperial Margarine, due to its use of palm oil and palm kernel oil, cannot be considered entirely cruelty-free. The extraction of these oils often leads to habitat destruction, particularly endangering orangutan populations.

What Is Imperial Margarine Made Of?

Imperial Margarine is a popular product in many households due to its versatility and cost-effectiveness. Originally created as a more affordable alternative to butter, it has now earned its place in kitchens across the globe. But what exactly is Imperial Margarine made of? Let’s break down its ingredients:

  • Soybean oil
  • Water
  • Partially hydrogenated soybean oil
  • Salt
  • Mono- and diglycerides
  • Soy lecithin
  • Potassium sorbate
  • Natural and artificial flavor
  • Vitamin a palmitate
  • Colored with beta carotene

Soybean oil

Soybean oil is a type of vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the soybean plant. It is known for its neutral flavor and high smoke point, which makes it suitable for various types of cooking. 

This oil is the primary fat source in Imperial Margarine, giving it its characteristic richness and creaminess. Soybean oil is vegan because it is entirely plant based.


Water, the universal solvent, is used in Imperial Margarine to adjust its texture and consistency. It is obtained from natural sources and is vegan friendly.

Partially hydrogenated soybean oil

Partially hydrogenated soybean oil is soybean oil that has undergone a process called hydrogenation to increase its stability and shelf life. This process also converts the oil into a more solid state, which helps give margarine its butter-like consistency. Because this is a plant-derived oil, it is vegan.


Salt in Imperial Margarine enhances the flavor, making it more palatable. It is typically mined from salt deposits and evaporated seawater, making it entirely vegan.

Mono- and diglycerides

Mono- and diglycerides are types of fat used as emulsifiers in food products like margarine. They help blend the water and oil ingredients to create a smooth, stable mixture. These compounds can be either plant or animal-derived. However, in the case of Imperial Margarine, they come from vegetable sources, making them vegan friendly.

Soy lecithin

Soy lecithin is another emulsifier used in margarine production. It is derived from soybean oil and helps to maintain the consistency of the product. Because it comes from soybeans, it is also vegan.

Potassium sorbate

Potassium sorbate is a common food preservative that inhibits the growth of mold, yeast, and fungi to extend the shelf life of the product. It is a salt of sorbic acid, which is naturally found in some berries but is typically synthesized for commercial use. It’s vegan friendly.

Natural and artificial flavor

These ingredients are used to improve the flavor of the margarine. The exact composition is often proprietary. They can be derived from a variety of sources, but in Imperial Margarine, they are sourced from plants, thus are vegan.

Vitamin A palmitate

Vitamin A palmitate is a form of Vitamin A added to improve the nutritional content of the margarine. It can be synthetically produced, and in the case of Imperial Margarine, it is vegan friendly.

Colored with beta carotene

Beta carotene is a naturally occurring pigment found in many fruits and vegetables. In Imperial Margarine, it is used to give the product a yellow, butter-like color. It is vegan because it is sourced from plants.

Vegan Alternatives to Imperial Margarine

If you’re looking for a vegan-friendly and cruelty-free butter substitute, there are many alternatives to Imperial Margarine available:

These brands and others make great dairy-free spreads that are not only plant based but also adhere to higher standards of environmental sustainability.


In conclusion, while Imperial Margarine may initially seem vegan due to its plant-based oils, the environmental impact and potential ambiguity around some of its ingredients mean that it is not fully vegan or cruelty-free. 

It’s essential for all consumers, especially those on a vegan diet, to scrutinize food ingredients and make conscious choices. 

Fortunately, there are a plethora of vegan-friendly alternatives available, ensuring that no one has to compromise on their commitment to a more compassionate and sustainable world.