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Kerrygold butter - why so popular?

DougWeller May 10, 2013 02:03 PM

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

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  1. pinehurst RE: DougWeller May 10, 2013 02:16 PM

    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
      JWVideo RE: pinehurst May 10, 2013 02:31 PM

      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
        Heatherb RE: pinehurst May 10, 2013 02:39 PM

        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
          DougWeller RE: pinehurst May 10, 2013 03:35 PM

          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. Samalicious RE: DougWeller May 10, 2013 02:42 PM

          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. b
            baseballfan RE: DougWeller May 10, 2013 05:01 PM

            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. s
              sandylc RE: DougWeller May 10, 2013 05:09 PM

              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
                Caitlin McGrath RE: sandylc May 10, 2013 08:12 PM

                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
                  mcf RE: sandylc May 11, 2013 02:44 PM

                  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
                    c oliver RE: mcf May 11, 2013 04:13 PM

                    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
                      mcf RE: c oliver May 11, 2013 04:40 PM

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

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

                      1. re: mcf
                        c oliver RE: mcf May 11, 2013 06:09 PM

                        Thanks for that.

                      2. re: c oliver
                        Caitlin McGrath RE: c oliver May 11, 2013 06:07 PM

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

                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                          c oliver RE: Caitlin McGrath May 11, 2013 06:14 PM

                          Thanks, CM. I appreciate the education.

                        2. re: c oliver
                          Caitlin McGrath RE: c oliver May 13, 2013 05:22 PM

                          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
                            c oliver RE: Caitlin McGrath May 17, 2013 06:21 PM

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

                      3. re: sandylc
                        sandylc RE: sandylc May 13, 2013 11:37 AM

                        I found this:


                        1. re: sandylc
                          seamunky RE: sandylc May 13, 2013 12:21 PM

                          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
                            sandylc RE: seamunky May 13, 2013 12:37 PM

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

                            1. re: seamunky
                              mcf RE: seamunky May 13, 2013 05:32 PM

                              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
                                seamunky RE: mcf May 14, 2013 01:42 AM

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

                          2. MissBubbles RE: DougWeller May 10, 2013 05:16 PM

                            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. fldhkybnva RE: DougWeller May 11, 2013 02:29 PM

                              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. mcf RE: DougWeller May 11, 2013 02:42 PM

                                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
                                  boogiebaby RE: mcf May 11, 2013 03:57 PM

                                  ^ this.

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

                                  1. re: mcf
                                    ratgirlagogo RE: mcf May 12, 2013 10:55 AM

                                    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
                                      mcf RE: ratgirlagogo May 12, 2013 03:18 PM

                                      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. h
                                    Harters RE: DougWeller May 12, 2013 03:34 AM

                                    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
                                      DougWeller RE: Harters May 12, 2013 07:53 AM

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

                                      1. re: DougWeller
                                        Harters RE: DougWeller May 12, 2013 09:40 AM

                                        Anchor - New Zealand, not Australia.

                                        1. re: Harters
                                          DougWeller RE: Harters May 12, 2013 05:38 PM

                                          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
                                        Hobbert RE: Harters May 12, 2013 11:12 AM

                                        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
                                          Caitlin McGrath RE: Hobbert May 12, 2013 12:39 PM

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

                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                            Hobbert RE: Caitlin McGrath May 12, 2013 01:20 PM

                                            Really? Why?

                                            1. re: Hobbert
                                              linguafood RE: Hobbert May 12, 2013 01:35 PM

                                              Because there are plenty of awesome butters in Europe?

                                              1. re: linguafood
                                                Hobbert RE: linguafood May 12, 2013 02:19 PM

                                                Lol ok.

                                            2. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                              Harters RE: Caitlin McGrath May 12, 2013 02:08 PM

                                              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
                                                linguafood RE: Harters May 12, 2013 02:36 PM

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

                                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath
                                                Paprikaboy RE: Caitlin McGrath May 12, 2013 02:46 PM

                                                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
                                                  Harters RE: Paprikaboy May 13, 2013 01:51 AM

                                                  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
                                                mcf RE: Hobbert May 12, 2013 03:20 PM

                                                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
                                                  Hobbert RE: mcf May 12, 2013 03:27 PM

                                                  I'll have to give President a try.

                                                  1. re: Hobbert
                                                    mcf RE: Hobbert May 12, 2013 03:56 PM

                                                    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
                                                  mamachef RE: Hobbert May 13, 2013 02:10 AM

                                                  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
                                                    stephaniet RE: Hobbert May 13, 2013 12:42 PM

                                                    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. helen_m RE: DougWeller May 12, 2013 09:46 AM

                                                  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. x
                                                    Xan7hos RE: DougWeller May 12, 2013 02:27 PM

                                                    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
                                                      fldhkybnva RE: Xan7hos May 12, 2013 02:52 PM

                                                      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
                                                        bmorecupcake RE: Xan7hos May 12, 2013 09:38 PM

                                                        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
                                                          The Professor RE: bmorecupcake May 12, 2013 10:17 PM

                                                          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. mamachef RE: DougWeller May 13, 2013 02:07 AM

                                                        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. Savour RE: DougWeller May 13, 2013 03:20 PM

                                                          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.)

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