You may have seen the headlines. Butter is back! Finally, the mainstream have caught on. Yes, butter is good for us and such a better choice than the factory-made chemical laden toxic spreads that have been touted as ‘healthy.’ As the saying goes, ‘we trust cows more than chemists.’
At Pinkfarm, we often discuss which butter is better and we both often get asked which butter we use. So, we decided to do a little research…
We are well aware of the increasing number of feedlot dairy farms in the USA and some Asian countries whereby dairy cows are confined to feedlots and are fed solely grain. These cows do not have access to green pastures. We are strongly opposed to these farming practises for environmental, health and ethical reasons.
So we looked into a few different brands, both organic and non-organic, in order to find out:
- If the butter comes from pasture fed cows
- How much of the cow’s diet was supplemented with grains (if used at all)
- Where the cows were living and feeding, because as we know many parts of Australia are drier than others.
The origin of the butter is important. We know that the greener the pastures, the more Vitamins (A,D and K) the butter will contain. This is especially true of cows grazing on fresh spring grass. As cows eat the greens that contain Vitamin K1, this is converted in the cow’s stomach to Vitamin K2 (known as the X-factor), which are present in dairy fats.
We investigated eight different butters. Here’s what we learnt:
ALDI JUST ORGANIC
Being in city, Pinky has always had access to Aldi and would often buy the ‘Just Organic’ butter. Even though Aldi’s butter is organic, we thought it was best to know for sure where the butter was sourced from and whether it come from pasture fed cows. After lots of phone calls, Aldi revealed that the butter was from New Zealand but their exact source was ‘confidential.’ Because Aldi was so secretive about their product, this left us feeling suspicious aboutthe source of this butter. Given the recent exposure in the media of the relaxed laws around New Zealand’s packaging and labelling of imported foods, this concerned us even more.
Westgold butter is from New Zealand, and uses milk from pasture fed cows (rarely given any grain) and state that the cows are always on pastures. During the dry season the pastures are irrigated. Westgold butter is another favourite of ours as we had read about New Zealand butter being so high in Vitamin content due to the lush pastures. Westgold Butter is also produced from milk during the spring season when the grass is greenest resulting in higher Vitamin content.
Westgold butter is what is used for Woolworths Homebrand. However, the milk used to produce this butter is collected during the drier times of the year when pastures are poorer, therefore the butter does not contain the same high Vitamin content. This is obvious in the lighter yellow colour of the butter as well.
This butter is from Tasmania. We have read that most dairy farms in Tasmania pasture feed but we are still waiting on confirmation from the supplier.
This butter is from Victoria, produced from predominantly pasture fed cows whose diets are supplemented with small amounts of grain during milking. Through the dry season the milking herd is reduced and the cows are fed on dry fodder (hay) and some grain. If we buy Western Star, we always choose the cultured variety (which is in a green packet).
This organic butter from New Zealand, comes from cows that have access to organic green pastures. Organic grain is supplemented in a small amount of 5% or less.
This organic butter is distributed by Organic Farmers Australia, which are based in Victoria. At present this product comes from cows raised on organic pastures in New Zealand, however Organic Farmers Australia will be releasing their own butter from Australian cows within the next two months.
PARIS CREEK BUTTER
This is one of the only organic/biodynamic butters we have come across. It is produced by Biodynamic Dairy Farms in South Australia. Cows have access to green pastures and their diets are supplemented with organic dry fodder and barley grain during the drier times of the year.
Most varieties of butter provide an Unsalted and Salted version. We always opt for the unsalted variety unless it reveals that sea salt is used. This was identified in the Salted version of the Organic Times Butter.
MAINLAND ORGANIC (new)
We have just noticed that Coles is now stocking an organic Mainland brand butter. Mainland butter is also from grassfed cows from New Zealand, however this butter unfortunately contains salt and does not specify if this is sea salt.