Smart Balance Vs. Earth Balance: Ingredients and Nutrition


smart balance vs earth balance

Smart Balance and Earth Balance are arguably the 2 most popular non-dairy “butter” spreads.

They’re sold in most stores, so it makes sense that people on a plant-based or vegan diet would be interested in them.

I’ve created a side-by-side comparison to show you the main differences between Smart Balance and Earth Balance.

They’re quite similar, but there are some small differences.

Ingredient Comparison

While both companies make a few different varieties of butter spreads, we’ll just look at the “original” flavors for both.

Here’s a list of all the main ingredients in both products. I left out a couple minor ingredients in both like water and salt.

Smart Balance Earth Balance
Vegetable oil blend (canola, palm, olive) Vegetable oil blend (Palm Fruit, Canola, Soybean, Flax and Olive Oils)
Pea protein Pea protein
Natural and artificial flavors Natural flavor (Plant Derived from Corn)
Sunflower lecithin Sunflower lecithin
Lactic acid Lactic acid
Vitamin a palmitate Naturally Extracted Annatto
Vitamin D  
Vegetable monoglycerides  
Potassium sorbate  
Calcium disodium edta  

You can see that the core ingredients are almost identical.

Both have a vegetable oil blend that includes palm oil, which may be a problem for some vegans.

Palm oil is in every Earth Balance butter variety. Note that they use “sustainable” palm oil (it’s better, but still not great).

While palm oil isn’t in every Smart Balance variety, most Smart Balance butters are not vegan since they contain vitamin D (typically derived from lanolin).


Both Smart Balance and Earth Balance have very similar base ingredients. However, Smart Balance contains more additives (for texture and preservation), along with added vitamin D that may be a deal-breaker for vegans.

Nutrition Comparison

Again, we’ll just look at the main nutrition facts for both “original” versions.

  Smart Balance Earth Balance
Serving Size 1 tbsp 1 tbsp
Calories 80 100
Fat 9 g 11 g
Saturated Fat 2.5 g 3 g
Trans Fat 0 g 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1.5 g 3 g
Monounsaturated Fat 5 g 5 g

Smart balance has fewer calories per tablespoon, which makes sense given there are more “filler” ingredients as we saw above.

Other than that, both have similar levels of every type of fat, there’s no big difference.

Finally, note that neither has any trans fats (super unhealthy), which used to be a problem with margarines.


Smart Balance is a bit lower in calories, saturated fat, and polyunsaturated fat than Earth Balance, which is typically desirable. However, it’s not going to make a big difference unless you’re consuming several servings.

Summary and Alternatives to Smart Balance or Earth Balance

For those on a plant-based diet, there’s not a big difference between the two products.

The core ingredients and overall nutrition are almost the same. Smart Balance has more filler ingredients if that’s something you care about.

Earth Balance is the best option for vegans of the two, since most Smart Balance products contain added vitamin D.

If you are vegan and also avoid palm oil, here’s my page of the best vegan butters without palm oil where you can find a suitable alternative.

Is Smart Balance or Earth Balance Margarine Healthier?

Neither of these foods are particularly healthy, as they have virtually no vitamin or mineral content.

In addition, they are high in calories, and most people already get enough or too many calories as it is.

When comparing the two, Smart Balance is likely slightly healthier than Earth Balance since it’s a bit lower in calories. However, there isn’t a big difference and both should be eaten in moderation.

About the author

Dale Cudmore

Your friendly neighborhood vegan from Toronto. I've spent over 6 years as a freelance nutrition writer and researcher. During this time, I've tested over 50 vegan protein powders, and over 100 other types of vegan supplements.