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What’s Next For Adding Upscale Flavor In 2021?

Custom Butters Are A Key Ingredient

Sales of refrigerated and frozen products skyrocketed during the pandemic as consumers sought easy ways to serve up restaurant-quality meals. Maintaining sales growth in a post-pandemic environment will hinge on cravable flavor. That’s where Butterball® Farms’ custom flavored butters, sauces and dollops can add significant value.

Lucia Falek leads development and quality system efforts at Butterball Farms, Inc. Her team is helping scores of food companies find solutions for upscaling flavor. “Yes, we’re the leading provider of custom butters for food manufacturers, but we’re more than just butter. Our insights into how to add any flavor into a product that naturally makes it distinct and cravable is really who we are. What makes Butterball Farms uniquely different is that we don’t sell “products” we find solutions to our customers’ flavor needs based on the goal they are hoping to achieve. We work with the customer to understand what we are trying to solve for and then develop the perfect ingredient based on their flavor profile, packagaging, processing and desired finished product. Besides compound butters, that can also include blends, spreads, sauces, marinades, cheeses, mayonnaise, glazes, plant-based, etc.”

Butterball® Farms’ custom flavored butters, sauces and dollops can add significant value  and cravable flavor for consumers.
Butterball® Farms’ custom flavored butters, sauces and dollops can add significant value and cravable flavor for consumers.

One example is the company’s ability to craft flavored pre-portioned Artisan Dollops that hold their form better than sauce so that they don’t infringe on product quality. When heated by the consumer, the dollop melts evenly, imparting the ideal level of flavor intended by the manufacturer. Beyond butter dollops, the company has innovated gravy dollops, pesto dollops, cream cheese bundles for stuffed chicken breasts and even a Rockefeller dollop incorporating chopped shallots and spices that melt perfectly atop an oyster.

Joy Pellek, Director of Business Development for Butterball Farms, is helping food manufacturers upscale flavors to their new products. “By using a flavor-infused butter or sauce dollop, manufacturers are easily upscaling poultry, meat or seafood to make it a convenient, pre-packaged product similar to what consumers would find on a restaurant menu.”

“We’ve seen a distinct uptick in interest by seafood companies. One of the great barriers for selling more fish is the consumer’s concern on how to prepare it. By adding a garlic herb or lemon dill butter dollop atop the fish, the hard work is done for the consumer who can easily have a restaurant-quality experience at their dinner table. It’s an ideal solution” says Falek.

So, what are the 2021 opportunities for cravable flavors that will compete with restaurants as the pandemic subsides? Falek says the pandemic caused consumers to look at foods for their functional benefit to boost immunity while remaining delicious. “Garlic, honey, pesto, cilantro and ginger are only a few of the clean label functional ingredients that our customers are using in our dollops to impart wholesome goodness.”

Another big opportunity is the pairing of flavored butters with vegetables and grains, such as broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, sweet potatoes, quinoa, or rice. “There are so many ways that we can add upscale flavor on healthy vegetables or grains to make them stand out in the fresh or freezer case,” says Falek.

Pellek says unless the customer requests no butter, we typically use butter in our formulas even if it is not apparent to the consumer, because butter is the perfect flavor carrier and provides a delectable flavor experience to most every dish. Our flavor ingredients are developed clean label adhering to our customer’s specifications, although we also develop flavored blends that might be more in-line with our customer’s target price point. Just adding delicious flavor ingredients is a cue for premiumization of a product in its description. Butterball Farms uses butter locally sourced from its network of Michigan dairy farmers to blend with vegetables, herbs, fruits, and other natural ingredients for its custom compound butters and sauces.

New product development teams can request a free sample, review Butterball Farms’ Flavor Guide for 2021, or request a discussion on a custom butter for their products. Call them at 1-888-8Butter or ask for assistance via email at