Rising awareness regarding health and diet amongst Spaniards negatively affected sales of butter and spreads, which saw declines in both value and volume terms in 2018. Consumers are increasingly convinced that these products should be eaten less frequently, as they are perceived as less healthy than olive oil.
Butter recorded the highest growth rate in 2018, following the trend of recent years, and in contrast to margarine and spreads, which continued to decline. The main reason was the substitution of margarine, which still accounted for more than half of sales in value terms in 2018, but which was losing share due to concerns regarding its safety and the risks associated with its consumption.
Growing awareness of lactose intolerance amongst Spanish consumers contributed to the development of the lactose-free segment, with the release of new products by the main leaders in the category in the last couple of years. Examples are the first versions of lactose-free butter produced by Corporación Alimentária Peñasanta (CAPSA) and the line of lactose-free butter from Spanish leading retailer Mercadona.
Grupo Unilever España led butter and spreads in Spain in value terms in 2018. Its leadership of the category can largely be explained by its dominance within margarine and spreads, in which it holds more than half of value sales with recognised brands such as Tulipán, Flora and Flora pro-activ.
Private label has witnessed uneven performances in the different categories within butter and spreads. On the one hand, within butter private label has managed to gain share, especially in segments with a healthier nutritional profile, such as reduced salt butter or reduced fat butter.
Most innovations in 2018 focused on butter, with the launch of new products related to cooking, as well as premium, low salt and functional presentations. Examples of products developed during the last year include the new Anchor premium butter without salt for cooking from Fonterra Co-operative Group and the new individual formats of ready-to-eat butter from Corman.
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