Nicholas Jones

Nicholas Jones is the New Zealand Herald’s education reporter.

UK butter eaters lose taste for Anchor after dairy giant cuts NZ ties

AFF was established in 2002 to market block butter, spreads and aerosol cream products in Britain, including the Anchor brand.
AFF was established in 2002 to market block butter, spreads and aerosol cream products in Britain, including the Anchor brand.

British shoppers have noticed that their favourite Anchor butter tastes different - with the explanation being it's no longer from New Zealand.

In Britain, the famous Kiwi brand is used by European dairy company Arla. Until recently, Arla had shipped over New Zealand butter made by Fonterra, but has now switched production to its British facilities.

The Arla logo has been added to block butter packs, but the company has faced a number of complaints from disgruntled customers who were unaware of the change.

"I couldn't understand why I no longer like the taste of toast or cream crackers ... the end of an era," wrote Tom Bone on thegrocer.co.uk.

"I've been eating Anchor all my life because the taste was the best," said another customer in a comment posted this month. "Now it tastes disgusting. No longer buying it either."

Arla could not be reached for comment yesterday. However, a company spokeswoman previously told thegrocer.co.uk that the vast majority of shoppers were happy with the change, which began last year.

Fonterra, which was unable to comment by deadline, exited the British butter market - once the cornerstone of New Zealand's dairy industry - in 2009 when it sold its share in Arla Foods Fonterra (AFF). At the time, Fonterra said it would continue to license the Anchor brand to Arla.

AFF was established in 2002 to market block butter, spreads and aerosol cream products in Britain, including the Anchor brand.

Dr Mike Lee, a senior lecturer in marketing at the University of Auckland, said it was not surprising customers were confused as established brands were powerful signals.

Proudly British

* Anchor brand is used in the United Kingdom by the European dairy giant Arla.

* Fonterra had supplied butter used in Anchor UK products after licensing the brand to Arla.

* But Arla has now switched production to its British facilities, with many customers noticing the change in taste

- NZ Herald

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