OK, so we all know that butter is really bad for you – almost 100 per cent fat content – it is an artery clogger and eating lots of it is a sure fire way to up your waist size and increase your risk of heart disease. However, it seems that for the first time in thirty years, people are turning back to the full fat yellow stuff, rather than the once more popular (and spreadable) margarine.
It seems that the introduction of reduced fat and not to mention spreadable butters, has led the way for a surge in butter sales, with a 9 per cent increase last year while analysts are expecting more to come for this year – an estimated 6 per cent to £570 million in fact. Mintel yesterday reported that if sales figures carry on like this over the next five years, they will be on the brink of overtaking margarine sales for the first time since 1983.
Regardless of the fact the government are still trying to push across the warnings over eating too much saturated fat, less people seem to be buying reduced and low-fat spreads. Between 2004 and 2007, the average consumption of margarine and low-fat spreads dropped from 77g to 72g per week. Meanwhile the consumption of butter went up from 35g to 41g per week.
Back in 1990, butter only made up 31 per cent of the “yellow fat” market as consumers were reverting to much “healthier” spreads. However, figures from Mintel show butter is on its way up, as it now enjoys 47.9 per cent of the market. In a report, Mintel said, “Butter benefits from the shift in consumer preference from calorie counting to balanced health management and natural, tasty foods.”
The important thing here – and it seems to be the same for a lot of foods – is the idea of eating full fat versions due to their increase in nutrients. While reduced fat cheese, spreads and milks may have less calories, they also have less of the health giving properties that make dairy products – and fats – essential to a well balanced diet. Therefore, the dietician’s advice – have a little of what you fancy – just watch your portions!