I buy butter. I don’t buy margarine.
Not to spread on bread, because I hate the stuff (especially the low-fat varieties; they give a fatty mouth-feel without any taste, brr), and not for the kitchen because there are so many nicer cooking fats: oil! ghee! lard! dripping! goose fat! oh, and butter!
My default butter comes from one of my default supermarkets, and they used to carry only one house-brand kind, not counting Big-Name butter which is more expensive but not perceptibly better and Cheap-and-Nasty butter which tastes slightly of fish oil. Somewhat recently, though, they’ve introduced two varieties: silver label and gold label. They say that the silver-label variant is suitable for cooking:
and the gold-label variant is suitable for spreading on bread:
This also advises taking the butter out of the fridge 15 minutes before use, for better spreadability.
I’m always annoyed by the official word for butter, “roomboter” (cream butter) as if it’s somehow decadent, I much prefer to call it just plain “boter” but for most people that’s the common word for the stuff they spread on their bread, i.e. margarine. (I know people who don’t taste the difference, even one in my own household. I don’t understand those people.)
But I digress. Both variants used to cost € 1,15 for 250g until someone noticed that there was no difference and the gold-label butter became € 1,19. I used to buy both indiscriminately when they were the same price, but when they weren’t I became curious. Is there really no difference? The specs seem to say there isn’t:
Trying to read up on the characteristics of butter I found hints that butter can be treated in different ways, making the fat set harder or softer, and that could be a difference, but frankly I haven’t noticed. I’ve used both kinds for cooking, on bread and to make ghee without finding any difference in characteristics.
I mailed the supermarket chain, “is there a difference at all? and don’t tell me ‘the gold-label variant is more suitable for bread and the silver-label variant is more suitable for cooking’, you already say that on the package, I want to know why dammit!” — only in somewhat more circumspect words. Until now, no answer; perhaps they thought it beneath their notice because I wasn’t complaining, only inquiring.