Butter consumption has increased by 1.7 million metric tons per annum over the last ten years. This market shift comes as the world adopts a better understanding of the health benefits of butter. While historically experts advised people to reduce their fat intake, they now agree that fats are beneficial for people’s health – especially natural dairy fats. Consumers are looking for natural, authentic whole foods such as butter, driving a resurgence in this area. And even with different consumer groups, the changing recommendations around butter have permitted them to eat butter again. Butter’s resurgence may be partially due to a growing interest in what are considered real, authentic foods, as well as a growing body of research on the benefits of dairy fats. With growing acceptance that butter may actually be good for you, companies are ramping up launch activity. Innova Market Insights data show that the indexed number of global launches tracked with butter as an ingredient has seen a CAGR of +15 percent between 2013 and 2017. The key categories that saw growth in the use of butter between 2013 and 2017 were Desserts and Ice Cream (+15.4 percent), Confectionery (+15.4 percent) and Bakery (+15.4 percent), respectively. Further data show that there was an annual growth of +13.3 percent in the use of butter as a flavor in snacks over this period, mainly in the Popcorn category. Moreover, there was +12 percent annual growth in the use of butter flavour in bakery, with examples including Nabisco Oreo Cookie Butter Flavor Creme Filled Sandwich Cookies (US). Dietary fat as part of a balanced diet is driving butter demand globally. In the food industry, we continuously see changes in the needs for fats, mainly butter. Of course, some fats, such as trans fats (PHOs) often come under scrutiny and later this year the long-awaited US regulation comes into force concerning the complete removal of trans fats. In contrast to this butter, is surging in popularity and the demand must be answered. According to Casey Thomas, NZMP – Dairy Foods Category Director, people like butter because it’s delicious, but for decades incorrect information about fat being bad for your health stopped many consumers from eating it. As a result, myths around dairy fats and heart disease have been debunked butter consumption is rising globally. “The idea that all fat is bad is no longer considered valid. Fat is an important part of a healthy diet, with the WHO recommending up to 30 percent of total daily energy intake should come from dietary fats,” he tells FoodIngredientsFirst. “Globally, we see butter consumption grow. Advanced markets like the US and Europe were probably the first to increase butter consumption after health risks were debunked. However, it’s now marketed like the Middle East and China that customers and consumers are calling for more and more New Zealand butter.” Who is turning to a higher-fat diet? When we look at higher-fat consumers we break them down into five different types, says Thomas.
- Taste Lovers: People who enjoy the more satisfying taste and texture of full-fat products
- Sugar Lowerers: People who want to reduce their sugar intake and perceive low-fat products as higher in sugar
- Protein Lovers: Consumers who are choosing high-protein products and overlooking fat content
- Naturally Healthy Seekers: Consumers who perceive naturally high-fat products as healthier than low-fat, processed alternatives
- Low Carbers: People going low-carb and “higher fat” for sports, fitness or weight wellness reasons.