[Disclosure: I received this product for free from Influenster and Land-O-Lakes in exchange for an honest review. My promise and my duty to you readers is full honesty when it comes to product reviews, no matter what type of compensation a company may give me, even if that means none.]
Who here is familiar with Land-O-Lakes butter? Anyone? Thought so. Anyone remember the commercials for their products on TV? I remember this one, but I didn’t know it aired back in 1991. I remember it airing for several years after that, unless there was a more recent one with a similar jingle. The jingle stood out to me more than the content of the commercial itself, and for a time or two, I remember trying to look for it in the stores. Of course, we never bought any of it.
Land-O-Lakes was never a butter brand in our house as a kid. No, it was Blue Bonnet, and only the regular variety. Never the reduced sodium or reduced anything else either. Everything else didn’t exist. Now that’s brand loyalty, right there. I mean that sincerely.
This was a brand I always wanted to try out, but something didn’t sit right with me. I couldn’t quite figure out why, or put a name to it. I set those plans aside during the years I followed a vegan diet, and when I shifted back toward what’s considered standard in the U.S., albeit with some changes from before, I gravitated toward other butter brands.
For me, it was the salted butter sticks, the cheapie house-brand margarine from the store, or whatever brand Ibotta had deals on at any given time that was actually available in store. Blue Bonnet for my family member, always. They didn’t like anything else, and with the way they go through butter, it’s probably the more economical option anyway, haha.
For those of you who may be out of the loop, Land-O-Lakes butter got its’ start in the Midwestern U.S., back in 1921. (That means it’s now 100 years old!) Their packaging evolved to include a rendering of a woman holding butter on a platter, known as Mia. Mia was dressed in what’s considered stereotypical Native American outfitting, with no specifics to any one Native Nation. According to this video, an artist drew her in 1928 with the idea to bring up rural Minnesota.
I have no idea how Mia ties in with rural Minnesota, however, Mia’s rendering came about during a time where some companies used people as mascots in their branding. The video doesn’t mention it specifically, but they showed an ad for what’s become rebranded as Pearl Milling Company in efforts to move beyond branding that relies on stereotypes and caricatures of people.
Over the years, the rendering of Mia underwent some changes, with Patrick Desjarlais of the Ojibwe Nation contributing to its’ design. It wasn’t out of the norm for companies who utilized people as mascots to recruit the same people they based their mascots off of to contribute to their designs either, which is a whole other can of worms for another time.
Later on, the design underwent other changes to only show Mia from the shoulders on up, leaving out the kneeling position from the previous packaging iterations.
The company then made the (very wise!) decision to phase out Mia as their mascot altogether, in favor of plans to showcase real dairy farmers who make their products as part of their “Farmer Owned” brand identity in the style of the Wheaties boxes with famous athletes on the front.
The current packaging, as shown in the pic above of the Land-O-Lakes butter spread with seeds, is a clean look to highlight the product’s special features with this variety. Otherwise, it’s a blank canvas evoking the Minnesota countryside, with room for a real dairy farmer and supplier down the road.
I’m totally here for this change, and I feel like it was a very long time coming. We could argue that Mia, and the former mascot of Pearl Milling Company were products of their time. Fair enough. Worldviews like this were commonplace, however, not everybody thought like that back then. These mascots hurt people’s feelings while contributing to misinformation and misrepresentation for certain groups. The creators of these mascots probably didn’t mean for that to happen (at least I really hope they didn’t), but unfortunately that’s what happened.
Land-O-Lakes acknowledged that using Mia as their mascot was wrong, and that it no longer fit with their values. This is why I was stoked when I got the chance to try out their new butter spread with hemp, chia, and flax seeds as mix-ins.
When the store finally got some in stock, I walked over to pick some up while I was out doing some other errands in the area. The heat made things a thousand times harder, and really made me wish I’d remembered to bring the lunch bag I keep on my bike for the cold stuff.
As soon as I got home, I unloaded my bags, and found my new acquisition. I took it into the kitchen, along with a package of instant mashed potatoes nobody else likes. I opened it up, peeled back the plastic, and saw that it was a bit melty from the walk home in the heat. No worries, nothing some time in the fridge can’t fix.
I had read reviews stating that this stuff was hit or miss, and some clearly didn’t like it. Still, I went into it with a clean slate, and decided to see for myself whether it was any good. Now, taste is clearly subjective, as evidenced by the fact that my family member won’t go near my spinach dip creations with a 10-foot pole, even without the spices I add to it, haha.
I decided to make the mashed potatoes, since I was sick of looking at ’em in the pantry. I nuked two cups of water, and meal-prepped the whole package for later. That’s what’s in the clamp jar on the right, and just to try it, I took a taste of the mashed potatoes, and topped the spoonful off with a bit of the butter.
Readers, I think I found a new favorite. While the calorie count is higher than I’d typically go for, a little bit of this stuff goes a long way. My original plan was to add a bit of the butter in with the mashed potatoes, but I decided against it, instead adding it to the serving itself.
This way, if I didn’t like it, I didn’t ruin a whole batch of potatoes. The butter went into the fridge to return to its’ intended state, and in the meantime, I hammered out stuff for the day job.
Later that night when I had dinner, I added a bit of the stuff to some of the mashed potatoes, and some peas. After heating it up in the microwave, I saw that it melted great. I didn’t even notice the seeds. When I sat down for dinner and ate while I watched YouTube videos about the Nuremberg trials and Mark Felton’s latest drop, I started with the potatoes and peas. Normally I’d save the best for last, but this time, I broke with my tradition. Seriously, this stuff really kicked it up a notch, to use Emeril’s catchphrase.
I also noticed that the butter lends a salty flavor to it, so no need for additional salt. Unless you’re going for a glorified salt lick, haha. One thing’s for sure, I will probably stick to the savory stuff to use it in. I may try it in something sweet later on for curiosity’s sake to see what it’s like, and report back on it.
All in all, this is a brand I can now feel good about having in my fridge and in my rotation, and this variety will make the list as long as they make it.
Over to you, readers. Have you ever tried Land-O-Lakes new butter spread with seeds? Got any plans to try it once it hits your grocery store shelves? What will you try it with? Drop it like it’s hot, and sound off below!