Flavor Insight: Butter's Big Revival

November 25, 2019
Dessert Flavor Ingredients Trends Indulgence Keto
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Butter is back in a big way. While added sugar and “anything artificial” are the big baddies in consumer minds right now, the taste of butter is riding the keto-fueled wave to what Mintel calls a “revival” in the U.S. In fact, seasonal releases in winter 2019 saw a 500% increase year-over-year. The taste’s growth is helped along by recognition and perceived naturalness. Let’s check out the new releases, consumer perception, media mentions and social footprint of this fan favorite, butter.

Butter Overview

Check out FONA’s social listening analysis on butter, covering the previous three years. Butter enjoys 75% positive perception.

  • 55 mentions per minute

  • 66% male - key consumer voice

  • Popular Hashtags: #bread #cheese #cream #peanut #pan

  • Key consumer interests:

    1. Food & Drink

    2. Cooking

    3. Desserts & Baking

Top Posts:

  • (Twitter) @npr “‘Butter: A rich history’ tells the epic backstory of a beloved spread.”

  • (Instagram) @buzzfeed “Meet honey butter, the food flavoring Koreans are going crazy for.”

On Cookpad.com, 67,708 recipes appear when you search for butter. Recipes include dishes and other items such as butter scones, butter cookies, spicy butter garlic shrimp, buttercream frosting, lamb in brandy butter sauce and halibut with lemon honey butter caper sauce and succotash.

Butter Makes Everything Better

Butter is often used as a flavor carrier, and many different tastes or textures are also described as buttery, but what about the flavor of butter itself? According to chef Grant Harrington from Oxfordshire, it has everything to do with the milk. Butter made with summer milk has a more floral flavor, and winter milk is more delicate.

Butter on the Menu: Q4 2017-Q4 2018

4,856 butter mentions on the menu

Quick service and Casual dining are the top restaurant segments with entrée as the top menu usection accounting for 51% of all butter-flavored menu items.

MENU MENTIONS: How to Eat Butter 
Butter Burger: This classic menu item from Culver’s is made with fresh beef and topped with a lightly buttered, toasted bun. It comes in varieties ranging from a classic cheeseburger to mushroom and Swiss cheese.

Saumon au Beurre Blanc: Beurre Blanc is French for “white butter” and is a rich sauce of white wine and butter, frequently used in French cuisine. Le Pigeon restaurant in Portland, OR, pairs salmon with a moderate amount of this butter sauce.

Gourmet Butter Tarts: Butter tarts are a specialty item that is made by the Algonquin Gourmet Butter Tart bakery in Ontario, Canada. The sweet tart consists of a filling of butter, sugar, syrup and egg. This is a highly regarded Canadian treat.

Butter Chicken is a traditional Indian dish that is served at JK Kabab in Naperville, IL. The chicken is cooked in a mild curry sauce which has a butter base and may be either grilled, roasted or pan fried. This dish is India’s most popular curry.


Butter Global New Products 2018-2019

3,590 product introductions featuring butter

Europe is the top global region for butter new product introductions.

Sweet Cookies & Biscuits is the top product sub-category globally for butter-flavored new products.

Chocolate is the top flavor paired with butter.

Top Butter Global New Product Categories

  1. Bakery

  2. Snacks

  3. Meals and Meal Centers

  4. Processed Fish, Meat and Egg Products

  5. Sauces & Seasonings

  6. Sugar & Gum Confectionery

Product Examples:

Butter Coffee: The brand It’s My Coffee added butter coffee to their line of RTD iced coffees. It contains no preservatives and is made with ingredients like grass-fed butter, brown sugar, fresh brewed coffee, fresh milk and virgin coconut oil. | Indonesia

Butter Biscuit set in Milk Chocolate with a Caramel Filling: This product is produced in Germany and available for purchase in Morocco from the Bahlsen Choco Leibniz brand. The product is said to feature more chocolate than biscuit, and bears the certified cocoa logo. | Morocco

Buttered Cotton Candy: This product is from a private company called Migros Anadolu Lezzetleri. The product is made according to a traditional recipe using locally sourced sugar, flour and butter. | Turkey


Butter North America New Products: 2018-2019

343 New Butter-flavored product introductions

North America accounts for 9.6% of all butter flavored new product introductions.

Sweet Cookies is the top sub-category, for butter-flavored new products.

•  Garlic is the top flavor paired with butter.

Top North American Butter Product Categories

  1. Bakery

  2. Snacks

  3. Sauces & Seasonings

  4. Side Dishes

  5. Processed Meat, Fish and Egg Products

  6. Meals and Meal Centers

Product Examples:

Top Sliced Butter Hot Dog Buns: Pepperidge Farm Bakery Classics produces this product made with real butter that is said to make barbecues a little more special. This premium product contains no high fructose corn syrup or colors from artificial sources. |USA

  • 59% of consumers polled said they’d possibly buy this product, significantly outperforming against subcategory.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream: Duc De Coeur offers crispy butter crepe cookies individually wrapped. The cookie is said to have a buttery taste and crunch texture.

  • 39% of consumers polled said they’d possibly buy this product, outperforming against subcategory.

Maple Butter Flavored Protein Wafer Bar: This product is sold under the ProtiLife brand and is a nutritional supplement. It contains 10 grams of protein and 4 grams of sugar. | Canada

The Takeaways

Mintel calls it a revival, citing data that shows butter is viewed as tastier, healthier, more natural and more indulgent than margarine. We recently noted butter flavor’s popularity in a seasonal report – the taste saw 500% increase in product launches, and was a featured taste of several seasonal IRIS best sellers in winter 2018-19. From the trajectory of Bulletproof’s butter coffee to the phrase “healthy fats” on the lips of many consumers – butter is primed for even more growth. Is this flavor right for your brand? Is the recognition and indulgence of butter flavor something your consumer would prefer over other tastes or ingredients?

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Let FONA’s market insight and research experts get to work for you. Translate these trends into bold new ideas for your brand. Increase market share and get to your “what’s next.” Our technical flavor and product development experts are also at your service to help meet the labeling and flavor profile needs for your products to capitalize on this consumer trend. Let’s mesh the complexities of flavor with your brand development, technical requirements and regulatory needs to deliver a complete taste solution.

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Sources in full report