Margarine is recognized by health professionals and consumers alike as a healthy table spread and a cheaper alternative to butter for use in cooking and in food preparation. Margarine makes an important nutritional contribution to the diet by being a source of one or more essential fat-soluble vitamins such as vitamins A and/or D and by being low in saturated fat. Margarine is cholesterol-free.
Newer margarine products are also low in transfatty acids and in some cases are reduced in fat and energy. Some margarines can also be classified as a functional food, because they are enriched with plant sterol or stanol esters that have been shown to lower blood cholesterol levels. Its price, taste, spreadability, and convenience have made margarine a dietary staple in many countries around the world.