Plugrá a hit with chefs and family tables

Written by Emily Battmer

Professional chefs have called it their “secret ingredient,” the American Culinary Federation (ACF) has consistently endorsed it with the prestigious ACF Seal of Approval, and it is the official butter for the French Pastry School in Chicago. Now, Plugrá European-Style Butter is also the official butter for consumers who simply want to “upgrade their everyday” in their own kitchens.

ACF is a professional organization of chefs, many of whom work at prestigious restaurants. Ashley Campbell, Plugrá senior associate brand manager, says these chefs are “tried and true” with impressive credentials, and their endorsement of Plugrá speaks to the butter’s quality.

“Chefs really understand and can see the difference Plugrá makes,” says Sherrie Hay, national specialty manager for DFA. “We not only say it’s different, but it’s proven to be different by industry experts.”

Hay says the difference is one even inexperienced palates can taste, and it is especially noticeable when it comes to baked goods. The butter is European style, meaning it has a higher butterfat content — 82 percent, giving it a slow-churned flavor and rich, creamy texture.

That texture creates a flakiness that pastry chefs strive for, and the flavor makes Plugrá the choice of a growing number of chefs and foodies, Campbell says.

Most of ACF’s events revolve around savory dishes, but Plugrá is changing that. Over the past several years, Plugrá has sponsored a chef from the French Pastry School in Chicago at the ACF National Convention, and each year, attendance for the event grew.

This growing interest indicated an emerging trend — interest in pastry baking is increasing. So, when Plugrá had the chance to sponsor ACF’s 2013 Pastry Chef of the Year competition, the brand leapt at the opportunity.

“It was a big honor, and a huge year for Plugrá,” Campbell says. “We attend all the regional and national competitions. Every meal served includes Plugrá as an ingredient and on the table.”

The Pastry Chef of the Year Competition is a rigorous test of the best pastry chefs across the nation, recognizing one chef who displays a passion for the craft, an accomplished reputation and a dedication to educating others. As the 2013 sponsor, Plugrá pledged support and product for the competitions and also brought chefs from the French Pastry School to do demonstrations at regional and national contests. At the national competition in Las Vegas, Nev., more than 300 chefs came to watch the Plugrá-sponsored demo by Chef Sebastien Canonne, M.O.F., co-founder of the French Pastry School.

“We’re definitely gaining even more credibility among the culinary community,” Campbell says. “We’re really solidifying ourselves as the butter of chefs, especially pastry chefs.”

But Plugrá’s popularity is growing in other markets as well, extending its quality, taste and performance to the consumer’s kitchen. Sales of Plugrá have grown 49 percent in retail stores over the past four years. Although traditionally available from retailers as 8-ounce halves, Plugrá rolled out a new kitchen table-friendly tub packaging design last fall.

Aside from the benefits for baked goods, Campbell says consumer studies revealed that the number one use for Plugrá in everyday households was as a spread. The new tub packaging design was created to make the spread a more convenient choice for those uses.