The purpose of this pilot-scale study was to compare the quality of traditionally manufactured butters from local, small British producers with the quality of butters that are produced industrially.
Butter samples were obtained after supervised site inspections of three traditional-butter manufacturers and one large-scale butter producer. The samples were subject to initial microbiological, chemical and sensory testing, followed by a refrigerated shelf-life study over 24 weeks.
Traditional butters matched or exceeded the sensory quality of industrial butters, but spoilage microorganisms tended to grow faster on traditional butters. This seemed to be related to poorer water droplet dispersion in the manufacture of some of the traditionally made butters. Visible mould appeared on two of the traditional butters after eight weeks, but this occurred well after the nominal “best before” date.
Prolonged lockdowns due to the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic pose a threat to the food supply chain, and food produced by local manufacturers may become increasingly important. However, are foods produced by local small-scale manufacturers of a quality comparable to that produced using large-scale production facilities? To the best of the authors' knowledge, there is no comparative study of the quality and shelf-life of traditionally-produced and industrially-produced butters. The current work presents such a comparison together with an outline of how the process of traditional butter-making differs from commercial production in Britain.
The work presented in the paper was funded by The Farmer’s Club Charitable Trust, London and The National Centre for Food Manufacturing (University of Lincoln), Holbeach. The authors are grateful to all butter producers who hosted our visits and presented samples for this study. The involvement in the progress of this project from Professor Valerie Braybrooks and Mrs Vanessa Sutton is much appreciated.
Dudkiewicz, A., Hayes, W. and Onarinde, B. (2022), "Sensory quality and shelf-life of locally produced British butters compared to large-scale, industrially produced butters", British Food Journal, Vol. 124 No. 10, pp. 3220-3235. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-02-2021-0172
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