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The Battle of BUTTER


Back to butter.


Lurpak Spreadable is currently £3.75 in Sainsbury's, down from £5.00, in its silver and blue 500g pack.


Meanwhile, Buttersoft by Sainsbury's 500g is £2.30, down from £2.50, in a really quite similar silver and blue pack.


So what do you get with Lurpak Spreadable for that sizeable premium?


It has to start with you wanting butter not a spread. Nicer on crumpets, crusty bread, jacket potatoes.


Plus butter's more natural. Never did your grandparents any harm.


Looks like you also want it to be spreadable straight from the fridge, not fifteen minutes later. You ignore the fact it's 26% rapeseed oil.


And like lots of people, you prefer the taste of Lurpak. Subtle, slightly salty unless you like it unsalted. That pale creamy white colour.


But there's that Sainsbury's rip-off, I mean own-label alternative.


And my guess is you'd find it hard to tell them apart in a blind taste test. The ingredients are pretty much the same.


Still, there you are in front of the fixture.


OK, System 1, la-di-dah, you may not be giving your decision any conscious thought. You want butter and Lurpak comes to mind.


But you know, cost of living crisis, energy bills, mortgage rates, filling up the car, Christmas coming. Going to Sainsbury's has started to get really expensive.


Which means you're just that bit more likely to be looking for a deal, to check out the price. Enter System 2 to the EastEnders drums.


This is when a brand like Lurpak has to have something more going for it. Something you value. Implicitly, intangibly.


A set of associations built up over time in your mind. A link with a love of cooking, maybe. A deeper need for Discernment and Freedom even. Probably more Freedom now, I'd have to do the research.


And assets connected with those associations. Brand name, logo, style of the ads, Rutger Hauer's voice, the silver and blue pack.


Except that's the problem, those copycat retailers. Half-close your eyes and their packs look the same.


What can Lurpak do about this? Not much on the pack front, it would seem. Not easy on the equity front either, not in this permacrisis.


But if they don't do enough, they'll end up in the situation I was in last week.


Off I went to our Sainsbury's Local with my fifteen-year-old son to buy butter. We'd run out. He likes Lurpak. My wife prefers Kerrygold (she's Irish). My daughter finds that too hard to spread. I don't really mind.


We got to the fixture and he picked up the Lurpak without a second thought. I pointed out it was £3.75 and the Buttersoft by Sainsbury’s next to it was £2.30.


He replied: ‘They look the same, what’s the difference?”


I had to say: ‘You probably won’t notice any”. And he didn’t.


Sorry, brand owners, there’s only one way though this. Keep up the brand building. Stand your ground on what you stand for. Do the job that needs to be done. Make your brand value for money.


If you want my son's money in the future, that is.

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by RICHARD BROWN

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