Market analysts at Mintel predict that many European countries with highest per capital consumption of butters and spreads, including Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, France and the UK will continue to see a decline in sales.
David Faulkner, Mintel food and drink analyst told us: “Any growth is likely to come from butter. Spreads will continue to decline as consumers continue to be cautious of processed foods and are looking for more natural products.
“But the overall decline in butters and spreads is also linked to the fact that, in general, people are cutting back on bread and that’s the main vehicle for spreads. [This] has been seen in many markets including the UK, the Netherlands and Germany.”
The margarine and spread industry’s extensive use of partially hydrogenated oils (PHOs), which contain high levels of dangerous trans fatty acids, in the past has perhaps not helped the products' image as processed and unhealthy, although many manufacturers in Europe have voluntarily replaced PHOs with other functional oils.
“Certainly what’s happened is that consumers are looking for cleaner labels with positive nutrition messages and brands that effectively communicate and improve on that will grow,” said Faulkner.