Another Irish butter brand has been launched by North Cork Co-op.

The co-op will, in effect, be competing with itself, as it also manufactures the own-brand or unbranded range of butter for SuperValu.

In reality, I suspect it is hoping it can compete with the lower-priced alternatives and instead take a chunk of the higher-priced branded category where Kerrygold and Avonmore compete with Connacht Gold.

The reality is that it is trying to double the money on butter, as the branded products are about twice the price of the own-branded product on the shop shelf.

Recent investment in the milk processing factory has allowed the co-op to develop further into powder and butter processing.

Milk supply

Based in the town of Kanturk, the milk is collected from suppliers across north Cork and into Kerry.

North Cork also have some contractual supplies from some of the other bigger milk processing players.

The promotional material said the goodness of ÓR Real Irish Butter is now available for shoppers in SuperValu stores nationwide.

It is made using the finest quality, naturally produced milk originating from certified grass-fed cows living on local family farms.

So there you have it – another award-winning option for the consumer in terms of butter. And they said butter was dead.

SuperValu butters

SuperValu, like the other supermarkets, keeps a range of butters in stock and price the range accordingly from the own-brand, lower-priced butters up to the higher premium-branded products. The dairy farmer supplies all the same type of milk.

At the moment, if you take a look at the butter shelf in SuperValu, you will see over 20 different butters alone. This doesn’t include the spreads.

If we isolate out the big players, about five butters have the majority in the 454g range – SuperValu own brand (made by North Cork Creameries); Avonmore (Glanbia); Connacht Gold (Aurivo); and Kerrygold (Ornua - of which North Cork is a member).

So then it’s a battle for marketing and of course price to get the consumer to pick up the butter.

In the 227g section, the price ranges from €5.68/kg for the own-brand butter made by North Cork up to the Cuinneog butter made up in Mayo for €14.10/kg.

In the 454g range, the price ranges from the SuperValu own-brand for €4.82/kg up to the Kerrygold offering for €8.26/kg.

See Table 1 for a list of prices and manufacturers.