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Butter makes a comeback

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2008 – September 2013, average annual sample n = 19,469.
Is butter better? While that’s a question best left for the health experts and foodies, recent sales trends reveal that more Australian grocery buyers are purchasing butter than they were five years ago. This gradual but steady growth has been driven by lower income households.

In the 12 months to September 2013, 47% of grocery buyers bought butter in an average four-week period, up from 44% in the year to September 2009.

Although butter is not as popular as margarine, its growing sales appear to have impacted those of margarine, which have declined since 2009, with 54% of grocery buyers purchasing it in an average four-week period in 2013 (down from 59%).

While grocery buyers in higher-income-earning households are more likely to buy butter, the most consistent growth has been among grocery buyers with household incomes of less than $35,000, with an increase of 5% points since 2009.

Butter purchase by household income


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), October 2008 – September 2013, average annual sample n = 19,469.

Geoffrey Smith, General Manager - Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“The shift towards quality food and ingredients not to mention the discovery that it’s not as bad for our health as previously believed have no doubt contributed to butter’s return to favour in recent years. While the chart above shows that butter is most popular among shoppers from affluent households, Roy Morgan’s ground-breaking new profiling tool, Helix Personas, can assist marketers to refine their search for who these shoppers really are.

“For instance, 58% of successful, well-off ‘Smart Money’ individuals purchased butter in an average four weeks, a far higher proportion than the national average. Smart Money are typically first among their social circle to try the latest hip restaurant – where they’ll probably get the best table because they know the chef.

“As far as these sociable, trendy folks are concerned, a loved one’s birthday is the perfect excuse for a dinner party, giving them a chance to try out the latest celebrity recipes — preferably containing butter!”

For comments or more information please contact:

Geoffrey Smith, General Manager, Consumer Products
Office:  +61 (2) 9261 8233

Related research reports

Click here to learn more about Helix Personas, Roy Morgan's new classification system for Australia's multi-dimensional communities.

Visit the Roy Morgan Online Store to access an extensive range of Food Reports, including our Margarine and Butter Profiles.  The profiles provide an overview of the target group including information on their demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage.

About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%