After 50 years in the losing column, butter has notched three straight wins in pounds of sales over margarine, reported The Wall Street Journal. That level – 22.5 sticks for everyone – has not been seen since World War II.
As competition grew from margarine, butter fell from nearly 19 pounds of consumption per person in the 1910s to under 8 pounds by the 1950s, when it was passed by margarine. Margarine held above the 10 pounds per person per year line from the late 1960s through the mid-1990s, then experienced a fall of its own to only 3.5 pounds in 2010 (it has not been tracked since falling to the lower levels).
Butter sales bottomed out at under 5 pounds per person per year in the 1970s, and stayed there until about 5 years ago, and has since grown slightly to 5.6 pounds in 2014.
Margarine was invented by a French chemist in 1869 when Napoleon III looked for a butter substitute. It started as an animal fat-derived spread and then moved to a vegetable based products in the last century.
Helping matters may be star power, like that of Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman, who is now a spokesperson for Land O'Lakes.
Land O'Lakes' dairy-foods division rose 8% last year. Overall, butter sales were $ billion compared to $1.8 billion in the spreads and margarines category, according to IRI.
Source: The Wall Street Journal