Butter makes a comeback among U.S. consumers

For the third year in a row, Americans in 2013 purchased more butter than margarine, signaling a resurgence of the once-popular dairy product.

As reported in The Wall Street Journal, Americans this year are expected to eat an average of 5.6 pounds of butter, which equals 22.5 sticks for every man, woman and child. This would bring butter consumption to 892,000 tons, an amount not seen since World War II.

Americans in 2013 spent $2 billion on butter compared with $1.8 billion the previous year.

“There has been a complete resurgence of butter since at least 2008, and it really has everything to do with ‘real food,’” Melissa Abbott with market research firm Hartman Group told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. “There’s been a backlash against margarine and other processed spreads.”

The unhealthful aspects of trans fats in margarines and partially hydrogenated oils have helped fuel the backlash. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has moved to severely restrict trans fats in processed food.

In the early 1900s, U.S. butter consumption averaged more than 18 pounds a person per year.