We’re at dinner. I ask you if you would like me to pass the butter. You probably say yes, and that’s because we live in the America of 2014. Americans this year are expected to eat an average of 5.6 pounds of butter according to the U.S. government. That represents nearly 22.5 sticks of butter for every woman, man and child in the U.S. It translates into 892,000 total tons of butter consumed nationally, an amount not seen since World War II according to the Wall Street Journal.
According to IRI, a market-research firm, Americans purchased more butter than margarine for a third consecutive year in 2013. We spend $2 billion on products offered by Land O’Lakes, Organic Valley and others compared with $1.8 billion spend on spreads and margarines. This buttery renaissance is at least partly attributable to legions of home gourmets inspired by celebrity chefs and cooking shows touting butter-rich recipes.
Not surprisingly, makers of butter have encouraged the trend, using websites and food channels to promote the natural simplicity of butter. Meanwhile, many Americans have become increasingly concerned about the trans-fats traditionally contained in margarine.