Kerrygold will release its best-selling Salted and Unsalted butter sticks in a 1lb (454g) format in the US, DairyReporter can reveal. The new offering, to launch in 2024, will enable Kerrygold to better meet demand from shoppers and enable the brand’s further growth in the US market, where Kerrygold currently offers its original butter sticks in the 8oz (227g) format.
The launch will be supported by increased production capacity at Ornua’s butter production facility, Kerrygold Park near Cork, Ireland. The flagship production plant has benefitted from a €40m investment to double its production volume from 40,000t to 80,000t of butter per year – or more than one million retail butter packs per day.
This investment also paves the way for Ornua’s ambitions to make Kerrygold Ireland’s first €2bn/$2.12bn food brand and to better support global demand, which has seen more than 11 million packets of Kerrygold butter and cheese sold globally each week in 2022. In the US, the brand has the second largest share in the branded butter category.
“Our focus is on doing this by continuing to innovate with product formats while maintaining our core value proposition of great tasting, grassfed butter,” a representative for Ornua said. “When Kerrygold Park first opened in 2016, Kerrygold was the number three butter brand in the US market. Since then, we have grown the market position of the brand to be the number two brand and number one imported butter."
“Growing the production capacity of Kerrygold Park not only supports our ambition to return value to our co-operative members and the farming families who supply them, it also enables us to sustain the demand growth the brand has experienced, particularly over the past five years."
The expansion of the facility, which is fully operational now, was described as ‘the beginning of a new era for the Kerrygold brand’ and is a crucial growth project for Ornua.
From grassfed butter to butter blends
Speaking of the decision to release large-format butter sticks, the Ornua representative said: "We are always looking to our consumers’ needs to inform our innovation pipeline, and next year we are excited to announce that the brand will be rolling out a larger (1lb) format of our bestselling butter sticks, Salted and Unsalted, with that in mind. With over two thirds of consumers shopping this format, this launch helps to ensure our portfolio reflects the needs of shoppers.”
On flavors, the Kerrygold Garlic & Herb butter stick is said to be a ‘firm favorite’. “Flavors are also very on-trend right now, with consumers looking to experiment more with butter for topping and seasoning food,” Ornua’s spokesperson said. “Kerrygold Garlic & Herb stick has become a firm favorite in US households year-round and our recently-launched Garlic & Chive butter blend is also performing particularly strongly so the popularity and interest around garlic doesn’t look likely to wane anytime soon.”
Asked about the performance of the three butter blends released in the summer – comprising Chive & Onion, Sundried Tomato & Basil, and Bell Pepper & Garden Herbs – the spokesperson said: “Consumers are loving the simplicity of being able to infuse everyday basics like scrambled eggs with an injection of flavor such as Bell Pepper & Garden Herbs or spreading tomato & basil butter on a cheddar cheese toastie.
“It’s all about taste and convenience, so it was important to roll out content to accompany the launch that inspires consumers with quick and easy recipe ideas that make use of their kitchen staples. We all appreciate simplicity and taste.”
‘A sprinkle of something new’
With two of the biggest holidays on the horizon, we asked what are the big trends likely to influence festive shopping and recipes – and whether we could see the return of the Butter Board.
“Holidays are all about gatherings and it’s our favorite time of the year at Kerrygold,” Ornua’s representative told us. “Our new advertising campaign that launches November 6 leans right into this idea and celebrates the bringing together of family and friends around the table.
“We see ‘food and bonding’ as a theme that has considerably increased on social media over the past year (+24%).”
Meanwhile, tradition will meet experimentation during this holiday season “as people look to mix their seasonal favorites with a sprinkle of something new, be it a side dish or seasoning”. “We are seeing a lot of creativity as consumers get brave and mix their favorite cheese and butter together to create a knock-out tasting spread,” the Ornua spokesperson said. “Others are experimenting with flavors to create flavored whipped butters.”
“We also predict that edible gifting could make a resurgence this holiday season.”