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Butter ‘outspreads’ margarine in Australian kitchens

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Jan-Dec 2014, n=15,944 and Jan-Dec 2018, n=14,913.

Over 12.3 million Australians buy butter, margarine or another type of butter blend/dairy spread in an average month, up from just under 11.9 million four years ago, the latest research conducted by Roy Morgan in the 12 months to December 2018 reveals. 

When it comes to choosing between butter and margarine it is butter that Australians are increasingly choosing in preference to margarine while other spreads including butter blends and dairy spreads are also increasing in popularity.

In 2018 over 8.6 million Australians bought butter in an average month comprising 42% of Australians aged 14+ an increase of over 1.1 million compared to four years ago in 2014 when just over 7.4 million Australians bought butter in an average month.

In comparison just over 5 million Australians (25%) bought margarine in an average month in 2018 representing a significant decline of over 1.3 million from four years ago in 2014.

In addition nearly 2.6 million Australians (13%) bought a butter blend/dairy spread in an average month representing an increase of nearly 650,000 from four years ago.

Australians buying butter, margarine and butter blend/ dairy spread 2018 cf. 2014

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Jan-Dec 2014, n=15,944 and Jan-Dec 2018, n=14,913. 

Western Star top butter brand in 2018 bought by over 3.1 million Aussies

The increasing butter market over the last four years has benefited a range of butter producers including Western Star, Devondale, Mainland and also Supermarket private label butter brands with all increasing their market size between 2014 and 2018.

Western Star remains the leading producer of butter in Australia bought by over 3.1 million Australians in an average month, up by over 550,000 from four years ago and capturing a far larger market size than their leading rivals. Among Western Star’s butter brands are the popular Western Star Unsalted butter and also Western Star Salt Reduced butter as well as their flagship Western Star butter.

Although Western’s Star’s increasing market size over the last four years was impressive rivals Devondale which increased its customer base by nearly 70,000 to 727,000 and Mainland which increased its customer base by nearly 140,000 to 656,000 have also grown as consumers increasingly choose to buy butter rather than margarine.

The Supermarket private labels of leading supermarkets including Woolworths, Coles, Aldi and Foodland also increased their market size up by 175,000 to over 2.5 million customers in 2018.Australia’s top butter brands in 2018

Australia’s top butter brands in 2018

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), January - December 2014, n=15,944, January - December 2015, n=15,367 and January 2018 - December 2018, n=14,913.*Mainland was first measured in January 2015.

These insights analysing the habits of Australians buying butter, margarine and other butter blends/dairy spreads are derived from the Roy Morgan Single Source survey which is based on in-depth personal interviews conducted with over 50,000 Australians each year in their own homes.

The extensive data collected by the Roy Morgan Single Source survey allows an unrivalled ‘deep dive’ into the preferences and choices that Australians make and allows businesses looking to gain a deeper understanding of the Australian marketplace a leg up on the competition. 

Michele Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Roy Morgan says Australians’ increasing preference for butter is now the main driver of the growth in the butter/margarine/dairy spreads market of over 12.3 million Australians (60%):

“Butter is gaining the edge in the long-running battle between Australia’s two favourite spreads with butter now bought by over 8.6 million Australians (42%) in an average month up from 7.4 million (38.5%) four years ago.

“Over the same four year stretch significantly fewer Australians are now purchasing margarine, now down to 5 million (25%) in an average month down over 1.3 million from four years ago.

“This significant divergence in the market for spreads has provided a significant boost to all major butter producing companies led by Western Star. Over 3.1 million Australians now buy a Western Star butter spread in an average month, up over 550,000 from four years ago.

“As well as the traditional Wester Star original butter spread the Western Star Unsalted butter and Western Star Salt Reduced butter marketed as healthy alternatives which retain an appealing taste. Roy Morgan’s health research shows that 73% of Australians agree when eating food that ‘I like to eat healthy but don’t want to compromise on taste’.

“If companies such as Western Star, as well as major butter producers including Devondale and Mainland can strike the right balance between a healthy butter or margarine spread that retains its taste they can continue to grow their market shares in a tough, but growing, market.”

For comments or more information please contact:
Roy Morgan - Enquiries
Office: +61 (03) 9224 5309
askroymorgan@roymorgan.com


About Roy Morgan

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

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

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2