Butter love

Scots shoppers are much more likely to buy butter than the GB average, sales are growing faster and we love brands.

Lurpak brand owner Arla Foods says taste and health are the driving influences on consumers who are deciding which butters and spreads to buy.

THERE are mixed messages from statistical analyses of the current performance of butters, spreads and margarines.

Overall GB figures suggest volume sales are down and that the market will remain tough.
On the other hand it looks as if butter is doing very much better than some other spreads and fats, Scotland appears to be returning especially good butter sales, and the spreads are faring better in the convenience channel than in supermarkets.
At Kantar Worldpanel business unit director Mark Thomson told Scottish Grocer that figures for the year to 14 September 2014 showed that GB sales of spreads were worth £1.3bn and had been broadly flat in the last year.
But the category was much brighter in Scotland where sales had reached £140m and had shown growth of 2.6%, which is ahead of inflation.
And butter is much, much more important to category sales north of the border. It accounts for 62% of spend compared to only 53% in GB overall and it takes 45% of volume compared to just 36% in GB.
At giant dairy company Dairy Crest shopper marketing director Adam Meighan noted that the overall category was in volume decline but that the decline in Scotland was weaker than the wider British drop.
He reckons the figures show declining purchase frequency, which in turn suggests declining use.
However, he stressed that not all spreads showed a similar performance. To put it simply butter is doing well … other spreads, not so much.
But while butter is certainly benefitting from consumer demand for natural products, he said, it is also being heavily discounted for much of the year.
“BSM market dynamics have certainly seen a move away from well-being spreads and towards products having a more natural ‘dairy goodness’ positioning over the last year, and both our Clover and Country Life are well placed to capitalise on this,” he said.
In contrast to other channels c-stores are showing BSM sales growth, the convenience channel accounts for 15% of total sales and BSM lines are c-store must-stocks, he added.
At Lurpak and Anchor brand owner Arla Foods, business unit director Stuart Ibberson said shoppers were increasingly inclined to use c-stores for a wide range of reasons, including buying “something for tonight”.
Arla suggests taste and health are the most important influences on purchasing decisions on butter and spreads and that home baking is also influencing sales.
“Zone your store layout by shopper mission with commonly purchased products such as bread, milk and butter, grouped together,” Ibberson said.
“Ensure your dairy chiller is visible from the door.
“Ensure you have a range of solutions for consumption occasions throughout the day.
“Make sure you stock a strong BSM range including a variety of pack sizes to meet the needs of your customers on different shopper missions.”

Dairy Crest reckons its Country Life range is well-placed to benefit from a swing to dairy spreads.