“You Have Ruined Waffles”: Many Country Crock Customers Up In Arms Over Spread’s New Recipe

countrycrockThough we are living in a time when the hot trends in food all involve a push toward products that are free of preservatives, artificial coloring, trans fats and other ingredients we didn’t use to blink an eye at, not all consumers are happy when their favorite items hop on the healthy bandwagon. That’s because while yes, people might want healthier ingredients, they also want their food to actually taste good — which is not the case for many fans of Country Crock’s Original Spread who say, among other things, that its new “Simple Recipe” has resulted in a “crock of yuck.”

Country Crock customers have been blasting the brand on social media and in a flood of recent one-star reviews on the brand’s site in the last month or so. We were alerted to the outrage by Consumerist reader Terri, who writes that she’d been using original Country Crock spread for 20 years before encountering this new formulation.

“It is truly inedible, smells horrible, and ruins any food you put it in or on,” she says.

She’s not alone, as even a quick dip into Country Crock land on the product’s web page shows:

“At first I thought maybe my taste buds had gone hay-wire,” a one-star review read.

“Terrible taste, horrible after taste and we tried it in several recipes/items but it didn’t help with the taste any, in fact it even altered the taste of the recipes,” another says.

“It is not good, in any way. The taste is awful, then there is a thick filmy after taste that is so bad my gag reflex took over,” yet another writes, with many pages of one-star reviews following.

Over on the Country Crock Facebook page, the response is much the same:

“I hate the new recipe. I would like you to know that you have ruined waffles, english muffins, and toast for me,” one comment reads.

“Threw our food away because we thought it was spoiled. After a couple of meals, we realized you changed the recipe and that it was the Country Crock. Yes, I know, it’s a new simpler recipe. It’s awful! We will be searching for a new butter!” someone else chimed in.

“The new simple recipe has to go!! It is really bad and I am devastated! I threw it in the trash where it belongs and purchased Blue Bonnet,” a fellow customer adds.

Terri and other customers repeatedly point out that they’re loyal customers, and beg Country Crock to reconsider their recipe. But she and others are also disappointed with the response from the brand, which so far has been limited to a variation on a canned response, on both the brand’s product page as well as on Facebook, with replies like:

“[Customer], we’re very sad to hear you don’t enjoy our new simpler recipe frown emoticon [editor’s note: yes, this really reads “frown emoticon”]. Family is at the center of our hearts here in Crock Country. Knowing that family is important to you, too, we wanted our products to have everyday ingredients you can recognize and feel good about giving to your loved ones. Our new simple recipe does just this, while still delivering the country-fresh taste your family knows and loves. We do hope you’ll give us another chance and your feedback is highly valued, so please send us a note at consumer.services@unilever.com with more details.”

Other responses are a bit shorter, but they basically say the same thing: “Sorry you hate this, send us an email.”

As for customers giving Country Crock another chance, many are vowing never to buy the offending spread again.

“I, along with countless others, told them we will NEVER buy the new recipe again,” Terri tells Consumerist.

“This has been extremely disappointing as we have been loyal happy customers who buy your product every time we grocery shop. But no more,” one reviewer on the product’s site writes. “The change you made destroyed what was a staple in my kitchen. Bad decision! Clearly you have lost and disappointed many loyal customers.”

At least one customer notes that while it’s unlikely that Country Crock will go back to the old recipe, as that would would mean putting trans fats and artificial preservatives back in — the brand should still do something about the new recipe.

“However, they should have tested their new product before putting it on shelves! Consumers are not happy,” the customer writes on Facebook. “They can’t bring back the old recipe but they should certainly go back to the kitchen and try to get as close as they can. As a company you should be listening to all these complaints and try to make changes.”

We reached out to the Country Crock brand (which is made by Unilever) to see if there’s any further response beyond what customers have been given so far, or whether there are any plans to go back to the drawing board and come up with a product that customers don’t describe as tasting like spoiled food.

A public relations representative for the company issued the below statement, with no “frown emoticon” included, it’s to be noted:

“At Country Crock, we value our extremely loyal fan base, and listened to their desire for products made with fewer, simpler ingredients. This was the motivation for our recipe change and one we believe in. We understand this change may be difficult and may not be embraced by everyone. We will continue to listen to our consumers, and encourage those with questions to visit our website at
http://www.countrycrock.com/help/faq.”