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Tofutti says: “The good news is, we’re ready.”

Better than hydrogenated?

Better than hydrogenated?

For the trans-fat ban, of course! Phase one goes into effect this summer, barring the use of partially hydrogenated oils for frying foods in restaurants. By July 2008, they have to eliminate trans-fats from all food. But Steve Kass, PR for Tofutti, Inc., says this doesn’t affect his company, which delivers trans-fatty Better than Cream Cheese and Sour Supreme as a food manufacturer.

This is part one of SuperVegan’s “No more trans-fats? But how will I go on?” series on the ban as it affects vegans in New York City. Kass explains Tofutti’s part after the jump.

Tofutti introduced trans-fat-free versions of their cream cheese and sour cream four years ago to resounding public response. “We were inundated with complaints that nobody liked it. They all thought we’d switched because it was cheaper,” says Kass. Four years later, the non-hydrogenated spread costs 10-30 cents more to produce per package and has a far smaller following than the original, which performs much better when baked. Still, its popularity is steadily growing, almost exclusively amongst hyper-health-conscious consumers who wouldn’t consider using the hydrogenated version. Stores such as Whole Foods and the Park Slope Food Co-op only purchase the trans-fat-free versions (but Trader Joe’s still carries the original). However, the legality of individual bagel shops buying the original cream cheese in bulk and using it to make their own flavored vegan spreads after the July 2008 deadline is vague, and Kass admits that some will probably switch to the non-hydrogenated version – even if you don’t like how it tastes. I mean, they’re just looking out for you, right?

Personally I think there’s a huge difference in taste between the two versions. Even though it contains just as much saturated fat as the original does trans (the fat goes to your thighs instead of your arteries), the non-hydrogenated version is decidedly less creamy and flavorful in comparison. When you mix half hydro and half non, though, the difference is far less noticeable. I haven’t cooked with either, but I’d love to hear from any SuperVegan readers who could impart some of their bakerly wisdom here.

9 Comments

  1. Comment by

    Patrick Kwan

    on #

    I make vegan chocolate truffles and I’ve tried using the non-hydrogenated Tofutti cream cheese, but it makes my truffles taste like chalk.

  2. Comment by

    Olivia Lane

    on #

    I ate the non-hydro Tofutti cream cheese once by accident about 3 years ago and I’ve lived to write about it. I am, however, still dealing with the emotional scars left by the torrent of disgust that ran through my body. I think I’ll have to stick to the transfatty version. Even if it means scoring the original Tofutti cream cheese on a seedy street corner and savoring it in the basement of an abandoned factory on the outskirts of Bushwick.

    One more thing: Color me clueless, but why would anyone bake cream cheese? Obviously, I can’t live my life to it’s full potential until I find out.

  3. Comment by

    Leigh

    on #

    Honestly, I have a hard time telling the difference between the two. I always buy the non-hydro versions, and I love them. I’ve baked “cheese” cakes with the cream cheese many a time, with nothing but good words from everyone who tries them. The sour cream makes an appearance each time we have burrito night at our house.

  4. Comment by

    Ajax

    on #

    I sincerely hope people don’t care more about how their truffles taste than they do their health. Trans fats (hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated fats) mangle our cells. They clog them up like jamming the wrong key in a lock and not being able to get it out. The body has no way to process trans fats. When you ingest them, you’re eating “plastic fat”. Knowing that should eliminate *anyone’s* desire to eat the poisonous crap. Of course people will always do things they know will undermine or destroy their health … go figure.

  5. Comment by

    Laura Leslie

    on #

    *cares far more about how my truffles taste than about my health*

  6. Comment by

    April

    on #

    I didn’t realize, until I visited the Tofutti site today, that I’ve been eating the trans-fat free versions of the cream cheese and sour cream for years, usually interchangeably with the trans-fat versions. I’ve never noticed a difference in taste, and I tend to have a very picky palate.

  7. Comment by

    Doodleyboo

    on #

    I much prefer the non-hydrogenated Tofutti. It has a more realistic texture, more like the real thing (yes, I am vegan). As for the taste, it does actually taste somewhat like cow’s cream cheese (so happy it’s not the real thing). I have noticed, however, that the store I buy it from freezes theirs. If other stores do this, maybe this changes the texture and can lend to the chalky flavour?

  8. Comment by

    frank language

    on #

    To Patrick: I sure hope you post the recipe for your truffles, so the rest of us can see if the “new, improved” Better Than Cream Cheese” really makes them taste like chalk.

    I bought a container of this stuff and made carrot cupcakes from Vegan Cupcakes Take Over the World so I could sample the new formula in the frosting. Six cupcakes later, I think it’s safe to say it’s fine, great, with no chalky aftertaste.

    I’m likely to buy this version far more than I ever bought the previous, trans-fat-laden one.

  9. Comment by

    Natalie

    on #

    Hey Olivia,

    Cream cheese is used in certain kinds of dough, like certain pie crusts, for example. That’s where the baking would come in. Hope that helps!

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