A Company You May Not Have Even Heard Of Supplies 1/3 Of America’s Butter

Image courtesy of Robert S. Donovan

Grassland Dairy Products is a 113-year-old company that has been selling butter since it was hand-churned, and currently produces more than a million tons of the stuff each year. There’s a good chance you’ve eaten Grassland Dairy products, even if you didn’t realize it.

Bloomberg Markets reports that Grassland is a multibillion-dollar business that sells one-third of the butter used nationwide.

It sells cultured butter, Amish butter, and soybean oil-clarified butter blends. The company says that it has 850 suppliers, which bring milk from cows fed a diet free of genetically modified organisms and from cows that don’t receive injections of bovine growth hormones.

Where are you likely to find Grassland’s products? You can buy them at the store, but you’ve probably bought it without realizing it. The company sells one-third of the butter it produces under the Grassland brand, but also makes private-label butter for retailers, sells bulk quantities to bakeries and other food processing plants that use real butter, and was the butter supplier to McDonald’s when the chain made the long switch from using margarine chain-wide in breakfast foods to using butter.

Good timing

The company had the good fortune to acquire a competitor around the time that Americans regained our interest in butter. In 2005, the country collectively was eating more butter than margarine again, reversing a trend that had started during World War II rationing.

While consumption of butter per person isn’t close to the 16 pounds per person that Americans gobbled at the beginning of the 20th century, more of us are now eschewing margarine and other non-dairy spreads, and Americans now eat an average of six pounds of butter each per year.

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