As sales of block butter edge into growth, can the BSM market benefit from changing consumer attitudes about dairy health?
BSM has lost more than £30m in value over the past year, with a 2.4% drop in sales to £1.26bn [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 26 February 2017]. Volumes fell 3.8% in the period. But health trends, the free-from boom and even Brexit have softened the blow.
Block butters have edged into growth, with year on year volume sales up 0.7%, compared with a 5.8% slump during the previous 12 months [Kantar Worldpanel 52 w/e 28 February 2016]. Spreadable butter volumes are also up, by 1.6% to 95.3 million kgs.
However, the same cannot be said for dairy spreads, which took substantial hits over the year, including the announcement Unilever is set to sell its spreads division. Dairy spreads and margarine sales both fell by 12% in value, sunflower spread values were down 10.1%.
“It’s quite likely butter will remain expensive as a commodity [because of Brexit], and that means margarine will probably linger in the category longer than it might do otherwise, because of the price,” says Hamish Renton, MD of consultancy HRA.