Plant-based butter set to revolutionise the art of pastry with low environmental impact

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

Laminating pastry. Pic: GettyImages
Laminating pastry. Pic: GettyImages

Related tags Be Better My Friend Butter plant-based UN Global Sustainability Goals

Be Better My Friend is a Dutch company set up by chef Marike van Beurden, food scientist Pere Castells and global food strategist Joost Lindeman with a vision to end the bakery sector’s dependency on animal-derived ingredients.

The trio’s first product – a shea-nut butter – is aimed at the professional baker, touted to enable both renowned chefs and artisans around the world to “bring the flavours they want to highlight to the forefront in a pure, honest and more intense way.”

The producers claim these flavours are often masked by the taste of dairy butter.

Be Better butter ​is currently available in nine countries – the UK, Germany, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Hungary, Greece, Australia and Singapore.

This distribution is expected a boost following the glowing accolade received from Swiss-based sustainability bureau Eaternity, which works to highlight the sustainable foods that contribute towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

“Be Better was founded with the ambition to make great tasting products that make a positive impact on the world,”​ said Van Beurden, an award-winning pastry chef.

“We believe that everyone in the food production industry can strive to ‘be better’ when it comes to their environmental footprint, as pastry tastes so much better if it makes you feel better, too.”

Good, better, best

Be Better butter

After reviewing every aspect of the product – including ingredients, energy, packaging and transport – Be Better received the highest score when it comes to climate, water, animal welfare and rainforest protection.

Eaternity placed it within the top 3% for lack of impact on the climate and in the top 7% for lowest water use, compared to other butters.

Be Better’s climate footprint is 76% better than the current average; while the water scarcity footprint is 27% better.

Comparison to cow-based butter

Be Better plant-based butter produces 248.6gCO2​e/100g, whereas cow-butter 1211gCO2​e/100g.

This means that Be Better plant-based butter emits 79% less CO2​ than butter from the cow.

As for the water footprint, Be Better uses 4.2 litres scarce water/100g, whereas cow butter produced in the Netherlands uses 30.6 litres. This means that Be Better plant-based butter has a 86% better water footprint than cow milk-based butter.

Eaternity also confirmed:

  • The shea nuts are a natural, forest product and not farmed, fertilised or irrigated. Therefore, no additional water is needed in their growth.
  • The product is vegan, so no animals are harmed in its production.
  • Be Better doesn’t include any ingredients that immediately endanger the rainforest.
  • Be better plant-butter produces 61% less CO2​ emissions than the average recipe and is within the limits of a climate-friendly diet.

Smart diet choices

“Our food choices are responsible for one-third of manmade greenhouse gas emissions,”​ said Judith Ellens, cofounder and head of science at Eaternity.

“We have the potential to reduce food related emissions by at least 50% through smart diet choices. Acting accordingly improves more than any technological advancement ever will.”

Maritje van Beuren Be Better Butter
Marike van Beurden

Added Van Beurden, “The reasons for switching to Be Better are manyfold, with its neutral taste and purity being one of the key reasons for chefs.

“In addition, it is better for the environment, kind to animals and cheaper than dairy butter; particularly relevant in these times of spiralling energy costs.”

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