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Kerrygold butter - why so popular?

why is Kerrygold, a cheap UK butter, so popular in the US?

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  1. Do you mean to say so popular in the US?

    If so, I'd say that people who can't get good local brands (like for us in New England, Kate's) like the higher butterfat content (which affects texture and mouthfeel, to my mind) and the better flavor since the cows are grass fed.

    But I can get Kate's cheaper, and I prefer to buy local. I'll get Kerrygold if I can't get Kate's.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pinehurst

      The Costcos in Montana have been carrying Kerrygold butter for a couple of months now. My survey is totally unscientific (i.e., dinner guests to whom I've served it) but the folks here who like it (and it isn't everybody) like it for the reasons that Pinehurst just said plus it has a bit of tang that appeals to fans of old fashioned cultured butters.

      1. re: pinehurst

        Yes, I've found a good local brand from grass-fed local cows, so I've stopped by Kerrygold when that brand is available.

        1. re: pinehurst

          Thanks for pointing out my error, which I fixed. I've always wondered if it was just good marketing - aiming at a market where there was no completion from Irish or British butter and maybe at the large Irish market.

        2. I bought Kerrygold for the first time over the holidays. No one at my house could taste the difference between it and the regular store brand butter we always buy.

          1. I wanted to like it but didn't really see a discernible difference so I didn't feel it warrants the extra expense. I do like their cheeses though.

            1. I did some googling and looked up Land O Lakes, Crystal Farms, Kerrygold, and President butters.

              It was eye-opening. EVERY ONE OF THEM had the SAME fat and calorie content. 11 grams of fat in 1 T. 100 calories.

              I have always read that there was a higher butterfat content in the "Premium" butter brands.

              Also, I have spoken to Land O Lakes and they do some culturing by using some of the more aged butter from previous batches in subsequent batches. So culturing might not be such an unusual thing, either.

              So, is it all a myth?

              14 Replies
              1. re: sandylc

                How the fat and calorie content accords with butterfat percentage is interesting. As you noted, the nutrition facts counts for Land O' Lakes at 80% butterfat and Kerrygold at 82% butterfat are the same. But the labels for Straus Family Creamery (a Northern California dairy) at 85% butterfat and Vermont Creamery at 88% butterfat are also the same: both read 12 grams of fat and 110 calories per 1 T. serving.

                So it may have more to do with labeling requirements/leeway (rounding up and down that's permitted) than the reality of what you're ingesting. That's my conjecture.

                1. re: sandylc

                  No, it's not premium butter brands, it's European style butters that have higher fat content. Lots of premium brands are only raised in a more natural manner.

                  1. re: mcf

                    So the Straus butter that Caitlin mentioned is considered a "European style"? I intend to get some at my local co-op.

                    1. re: c oliver

                      It falls more in line with the European standards for butter.

                      Here's more: http://germanfood.about.com/od/resour...

                      1. re: c oliver

                        Straus considers it so, as that's how they label it.

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                          Thanks, CM. I appreciate the education.

                        2. re: c oliver

                          FWIW, in my immediate area, the best regular price I've seen for Straus is actually at Whole Foods, where it's $5.99/lb. At my regular market, that's what it is when on sale; regular price is over $7.

                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            Bought some at our co-op for $6.99/#. Fried an egg in it this morning; loved it. Thanks for the education.

                        1. re: sandylc

                          It's because of the serving size (1 T or 14 g). If there's a 2% difference in butterfat, that's only an additional 0.28 g of fat. This would not be reflected in the nutrition facts.

                          If you look at a can of cooking spray, a serving contains ZERO fat and ZERO calories despite its ingredients being: oil, propellant.

                          1. re: seamunky

                            Yes, that one I am aware of. I especially hate the "zero grams transfat per serving" - very misleading!

                            1. re: seamunky

                              And a serving is a spray lasting a quarter of a second, right? A serving of Splenda is "zero" carbs and calories, but a cup of it has 24 grams of carbs.

                              1. re: mcf

                                haha! yes, exactly 0.25 sec. I'm never able to stop at just one serving!

                          2. The main reason I buy it is it's the least expensive & most widely avail pasture raised butter I can find. I also buy local butter from my FM that tastes even more amazing but I use it only fresh on bread because of the cost. I use Kerrygold for cooking. Pasture raised is higher in many nutrients and I try to make sure all my animal products are products are raised that way. If anyone in the Los Angeles area can to point me to a good local affordable source of pasture raised butter I would be grateful. (FYI I also see Organic Valley pasture raised butter but only salted, I prefer unsalted to cook with)

                            1. I enjoy it, though it's not my favorite any more. I really like President butter, but use a lot of Kerrygold products including the butter. I like it also because it's from grass fed cows.

                              1. Because it's from pastured cows and grass fed dairy is not as widely available as it should be here.

                                Kerrygold is, and has a texture and flavor profile most U.S. butter brands don't.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: mcf

                                  ^ this.

                                  I like the texture of the Kerrygold butter compared to regular butter. Much smoother and creamier.

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    Actually I have never bought Kerrygold at all. How would you say it compares to the Organic Valley pastured butter, which is what I usually get?

                                    1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                      It's got a really different texture, due to the fat content, and the taste is different owing to where it's pastured I suppose.

                                      I think OV is cultured? I can only get OV pastured butter salted, so I don't buy it at all, but I do buy their regular unsalted, cultured butter sometimes. I really prefer sweet cream butter, I think, to that.

                                  2. Without wishing to be overly pedantic, but Kerrygold is an Irish, not British, product with its name being trademarked by the Irish Dairy Board.

                                    In the UK, it is not at the top of the list of branded butters - those would be Lurpak and Anchor. I believe it comes in at no. 3 or 4, along with Country Life.

                                    17 Replies
                                    1. re: Harters

                                      anchor being cheap and I think Australian, Lurpak pricy andDanish.

                                      1. re: DougWeller

                                        Anchor - New Zealand, not Australia.

                                        1. re: Harters

                                          sorry, that's what my English wife told me. I am American living in the UK. one thing about the ATK test is they don't seem to have tested the other butters we get in the UK.

                                      2. re: Harters

                                        How is Plugra viewed? My grocery store keeps Plugra, Lurpak, and Kerrygold in a case with the fancy cheese. More pedestrian butters are relegated to the yogurt case. I rarely use butter so I generally get Plugra since I like the taste but I wonder what Europeans think of it.

                                        1. re: Hobbert

                                          I'd be quite surprised if Plugra is exported to Europe.

                                            1. re: Hobbert

                                              Because there are plenty of awesome butters in Europe?

                                            2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                              I tried Googling for Plugra in the UK and got zilch. A fair bet, therefore, that it's not exported to other EU countries either.

                                              1. re: Harters

                                                I've never seen it in German supermarkets. Kerrygold for sure, tho.

                                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                Never heard of Plugra.
                                                Tried President butter but found it bland like most of their output (also their ad is one of the worst I've seen in a long time).
                                                Don't buy Anchor, Lurpak or Kerrygold. Always buy Waitrose own brand English butter or Rachel's organic.
                                                Like sprouts,or asparagus or potatoes. It's one of the things that we do well in the UK so why buy something that's been imported maybe half way round the world.

                                                1. re: Paprikaboy

                                                  Spot on, PB. I'm a fan of Sainsbury's own brand organic butter - as is Mrs H who uses the unsalted version in her baking.

                                              3. re: Hobbert

                                                I think it's just a matter of personal taste. So far, Lurpak and Plugra haven't impressed me and Kerrygold has. Haven't tried President yet, or the others in that section.

                                                1. re: mcf

                                                  I'll have to give President a try.

                                                  1. re: Hobbert

                                                    I think I will, since so many folks like it. Kerrygold is really different than any butter I've had before, will continue buying it, too.

                                                2. re: Hobbert

                                                  I like Plugra a lot. (Oh whoopsie; I'm not European... :)
                                                  To me Plugra and Kerrygold are interchangeable. And both very good.

                                                  1. re: Hobbert

                                                    Definitely no Plugra in France.

                                                    And another note: I don't know how the export to US Président compares to the French domestic version, but Président is the lowest-end non-generic/supermarket brand in France. Funny to see it being so highly praised here, though I understand that it's still better than Land O'Lakes.

                                                3. Ha I have wondered this too, since moving to the US. I never would have bought it in the UK, I used to get Lescure. Butter is eye-wateringly expensive here and I just can't work out why!

                                                  1. There was an episode of Season 13 America's Test Kitchen where they tested butters, the winning being Pulgra; however Chris Kimball personally preferred Kerrygold due to what he and testers perceived as a stronger flavor. The taste test primarily judged the taste of fresh butter (spread on toast) as they indicated that once cooked or used to bake the flavors were ultimately indistinguishable.

                                                    Something they also noted was the way the butter was packaged ultimately influenced the taste of the butter, noting that foil prevented the butter from absorbing odors much better than parchment with the exception of Land of Lake's specially designed odor blocking (or is it absorbing?) packaging. Both Kerrygold and Pulgra are sold and packaged in foil. They recommended that if consuming butter raw that one keeps it as airtight as possible and stored in the freezer until use to preserve the flavor and prevent the butter from taking on the odors within the refrigerator.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: Xan7hos

                                                      Plugra is my 3rd choice for butter behind President and Kerrygold which are tied for 1st place. It's a good butter.

                                                      1. re: Xan7hos

                                                        ATK recommended freezing butter?! I'm surprised. I can't stand when people do that. I feel like it ruins the texture of butter and doesn't entirely prevent butter from absorbing odors.

                                                        1. re: bmorecupcake

                                                          I freeze butter frequently when it goes on sale (once a month, it seems to dip below $2/lb) and I have never noticed any effect on flavor or texture.
                                                          If it is wrapped properly, there should be no difference from fresh butter.

                                                      2. I love Kerrygold. I buy other brands as well, but I bake with that frequently. Speaking only for myself, it's the butterfat content, and the taste that I really love. It's tangier than U.S. butters - tastes like old-fashioned cultured butter. Plugra has the same character to me.

                                                        1. Have you had other US butters? It's a different style - softer and fuller flavored (and quite salty in the salted version, which I think contributes to its popularity). It's my favorite readily-available butter for toast spreading (I'd take that Normandy butter they sell at markets in Paris with the sel gris instead, but they don't sell that at the Trader Joe's a mile from my house.)