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Butter Consumption at Highest Level in 40 Years
Monday, December 2nd, 2013 -- 9:31 am
Posted by Riley Hebert-News Director

-(Milwaukee Journal) Driven by the movement toward food that contains natural ingredients as well as the foodie and gourmet cooking trends, butter consumption in the United States has reached its highest level in 40 years, dairy industry leaders say.

Where margarine and other spreads were once hailed as healthier alternatives to butter, the pendulum may have swung back in butter's favor. That matters in Wisconsin, where nearly 12,000 dairy farms and their 1.3 million cows annually produce 3.2 billion gallons of milk, the raw material for butter.

In the middle of the trend is Grassland Dairy Products Inc. in Greenwood, whose plants make about a third of the nation's butter. Grassland is the largest family-owned butter company in the United States.

This time of year is butter's sweet spot. Estimates are that at least 40% of butter consumption in the U.S. takes place between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Butter's numbers have been moving steadily higher over time. During the past decade, Americans have increased their butter intake by 24%, according to the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board.

Butter consumption has now reached 5.6 pounds a year per capita, up from its low point of 4.1 pounds in 1997, according to the Milk Producers Federation. All of this is good news for the state's dairy industry.

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