In the early 1980s blends of butter and vegetable oil products appeared in the U.S. market. These blends generally were 40% butter and 60% vegetable oil for a total fat content of 80%, within the margarine Standard of Identity and designation. With the increasing popularity of reduced-fat (less than 80%), spreads, starting in the mid-1980s, other blends with butter fat contents of 2 to 25% were introduced. As noted in Table 1, the full 80% fat blends have declined in preference to the lower-fat spreads; the blend spreads have taken a portion of this market share (Land O'Lakes, unpublished data, 1996).
A number of processes were developed using continuous churns (46) and alternative systems similar to the Cherry-Burrell Gold'n Flow process (47). The major disadvantage to churning, either batch or continuous, was that the resultant buttermilk would be adulterated with some vegetable fat and would be less valuable than standard buttermilk. An advantage of alternative processing systems is their ability to easily accommodate the manufacture of reduced-fat spread blends.
With the popularity of blends in the United States, several products were introduced in Europe and Australia and have subsequently expanded the market for butter fat usage (Land O'Lakes, unpublished data, 1996). An even earlier entry into the blend category was Swedish Bregott in Europe.
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