Farm Ireland

Thursday 18 October 2018

You butter believe it - global food trends push up butter prices

Butter sales are growing thanks to the Low Carb High Fat and Bulletproof diets.
Butter sales are growing thanks to the Low Carb High Fat and Bulletproof diets.
Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

After years of being castigated as borderline evil for our waists and hearts, butter sales continue to grow and drive up prices.

This week the Global Dairy Auction in New Zealand held a rather ordinary auction. It's wintertime in the antipodeans and milk production from dairy farmers is low.

However, one figure stood out from the crowd at the auction - that of butter prices.

Butter prices at the auction reached an all-time high, and according to one New Zealand commentator the high is due to the global surge in butter sales.

This year, Kerrygold sales were driven in part by growth in the US market, where sale volumes were up 20pc.

In fact, consumers in Wisconsin were up in arms earlier this year when Kerrygold butter was removed from supermarket shelves over some archaic law.

Butter prices have been climbing steadily. Pic: Global Dairy Trade.
Butter prices have been climbing steadily. Pic: Global Dairy Trade.

And this is due to a shift in scientific thinking - that butter is now considered by many as a good fat - as well as the growth in popularity of new diets.

The Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet has been been growing in popularity worldwide in recent years and one proponent of a version of this, the Bulletproof Diet, is Dave Asprey, who has 349,000 followers on twitter and runs the Bulletproof Conference, which Kerrygold sponsored.

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Mind you, he's not too impressed to find that up to 3pc of Kerrygold cow's diet may consist of GMO grains or that it's not organic.

However, the fact there is a worldwide shortage in grassfed butter lets Kerrygold off the hook with Asprey, so he still recommends it.

Meanwhile, Asprey and all LCHF fans have one thing in common - grass fed butter. And it's not for putting on bread (because bread is probably the worst type of carb!) but for using when cooking and, wait for it, in your coffee!

This 'bulletproof' coffee, comprises coffee, with butter from grass-fed cows milk and a medium-chain triglyceride oil, is what Asprey is famous for and it's catching on.

When celebrities such as the Kardashians and Gwyneth Paltrow are fans of low carb, or ketogenic diets, many of their millions of followers have followed suit. Asprey's business is now built on it and he now has two Bulletproof coffee shops in California and plans to open one in New York. 

And it seems that young people are the key drivers of today's LCHF diets, which are fundamentally modern versions of the Atkins diet, with a focus on grass-fed butter.

It all leads to one thing - that Americans are forecast to eat more butter this year than any year since the late 1960s due to the growth in popularity of such diets.

And that's what's helping butter prices at auctions such as the Global Dairy Trade increase.


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