Margarine used to be pink! (Facts about Food Friday)

Blue and pink Parkay Fun Squeeze margarine. In the 1880s, margarine was pink to discourage people from buying it instead of butter.

Facts about Food Friday

Here’s a fun “did you know?” and no, I’m not talking about the pink Parkay in the picture above!

Back in the 1870s and 1880s, in an attempt to restrict the sale of margarine even more than their taxes and labeling laws, they forced manufactures to add pink coloring to margarine. The idea was that the pink would make it unpalatable and less desirable, and therefore, discourage people from buying margarine instead of butter.

The color bans started in big dairy states like New York and New Jersey (no surprise, right?) and even created an entire underground market for bootleg colored margarine (yes, that was a real thing) and food coloring capsules so that consumers could need in the yellow color into their margarine to make it look more like butter again.

Between the color rules and the taxes, it cut margarine sales down immensely (to about 40% of their previous sales). Eventually the Supreme Court jumped in and overturned the laws, but as many as 80% of Americans didn’t have access to yellow margarine (oh noes!).

Fast forward a little more than a century and Parkay actually intentionally released the colored Fun Squeeze versions of margarine above in hopes of making it MORE desirable and fun, so that people would be more likely to buy it. Everything cycles back around eventually, huh?

~Edit~ Oh, and I don’t think Fun Squeeze is still sold in stores, but you can get it on Ebay!


  1. Leave a Reply

    Quirky Jessi
    May 4, 2013

    Haha, well I do NOW but I didn’t know before I saw the article that inspired this post. And then I was still technically clueless until I went digging for more information.

  2. Leave a Reply

    May 6, 2013

    I grew up in Minnesota, and (at least in parts of the state) in the ’50s some margarine still came with the button of colored liquid to knead into the solids. I had no idea it went back into the 19th century!

  3. Leave a Reply

    MB Isaac
    May 9, 2013

    I remember the colored stuff – My DD convinced me to buy it once. Totally disgusting. We never purchased it again.

    I try to just use butter now, or better yet, olive oil or grapeseed oil.

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>