The butter market includes all varieties of butter such as semi-salt, sweet and easy to spread butter. The market is particularly integrated with large dairy producers who collect milk, process it and ensure its distribution and marketing strategy in supermarkets.
The butter market in France had a turnover of 910.7 million euros in 2013 (source: LSA-Conso). Large-scale distribution has a huge impact on this market since, according to Le Figaro, more than 80% of the volumes sold to French consumers are sold in supermarkets.
Competition is strong in the sector where the major companies are the Lactalis group (world leader since the acquisition of Parmalat) and the major agricultural cooperatives specialising in dairy products.Differentiation is difficult on this basic product for which consumers are looking for a minimum quality without excess. The example of Sodiaal, which has been able to impose itself on the butter market with minimalist packaging, is indicative of consumer expectations.
The "light and low-fat" and organic butter segments are currently only occupied by a few firms. This trend may be reversed in the coming years, to the detriment of butters for cooking and softening.
Butter remains a rural product that appeals less to young consumers, who are more sensitive to the negative effects of high butter consumption. Nevertheless, the development prospects for light butters remain promising.
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