Butter trumps margarine for Aussie consumers

butterAussies buy more butter compared to margarine with over 12.3 million locals buying it in an average month, according to the latest research by Roy Morgan.

Brands of butter such as Western Star, Devondale, Mainland and own brands from Coles, ALDI and Woolies have risen to the top.

It’s latest studies show that butter purchasers have increased from below 11.9 million four years ago.

“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,” Michele Levine, CEO, Roy Morgan said.

“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.”

In 2018, over 8.6 million Australians, bought butter in an average month comprising 42% of Australians aged 14+. This is an increase of over 1.1 million compared to four years ago in 2014 when there were over 7.4 million Australians who bought butter in an average month. Comparably, Roy Morgan said that 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.

Aussies also prefer other types of blends and dairy spreads. Nearly 2.6 million Australians (13%) bought a butter blend or dairy spread in an average month representing an increase of nearly 650,000 from four years ago, according to Roy Morgan.

Australians buying butter, margarine and butter blend or 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 is still the main producer of butter in Australia, bought by over 3.1 million Australians in an average month. This has increased by over 550,000 from four years ago and has captured a far larger market size than their leading rivals. It’s most popular products are Western Star Unsalted butter, Western Star Salt Reduced butter and Western Star butter.

Its rival company Devondale has also increased its customer base by nearly 70,000 to 727,000. While Mainland’s customer base lifted by nearly 140,000 to 656,000. As for the private labels for butter from Woolworths, Coles, ALDI and Foodland, their market size have lifted by 175,000 to over 2.5 million customers 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.

“As well as the traditional Western 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’,” said Levine.

“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.”

Roy Morgan said in a statement that Australians’ increasing preference for butter is now the main driver of the growth in the butter, margarine or dairy spreads market of over 12.3 million Australians (60%).


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