- Wesson is entering the refrigerated category with the launch of plant-based butter, the 124-year-old company announced.
- The butter will come in two varieties: canola-based and olive oil-based and will aim to target consumers who are health conscious with a clean product.
- This is Wesson’s first major product launch since it was acquired in 2019 by Richardson International, which was an effort by the company to gain distribution in the Northeast as well as focus on innovation. Wesson has been a household name for years, and is looking to use that reputation as a leg-up in an already crowded space.
The move by Wesson to launch its plant-based butter came after executives decided to tap into the brand’s equity in the Northeast — where the products will be sold at select retailers — and growing consumer desire for more plant-based items, according to Irwam Webb, director of U.S. retail sales at Wesson.
The new butter products incorporate aspects of Wesson’s recent brand refresh by giving it a more modern “look and feel.”
The Wesson brand had not been touched since 2013 and the new butters will pay homage to aspects of Wesson that consumers have trusted for years, such as its clean ingredients, while tapping into trends like healthy eating, said Webb.
The plant-based spreadable market is expected to reach $2.5 billion by 2027, with a compound annual growth rate of 4.9%, according to a Markets and Markets report.
One of the main drivers of growth in the space has been consumers becoming aware of the social and environmental impact of the food they eat. At the same time, sales in plant-based offerings, including spreads, have been slowed by questionable taste.
Wesson believes its product have the means to overcome this after conducting a blind taste test. It found 91% of participants would be repeat purchasers of the product, the company said.
Violife, Miyoko's Creamery and Earth Balance are among the leading producers of plant-based butters. Wesson is using a similar strategy these players have utlized by highlighting its butter’s better-for-you ingredients.
Wesson uses canola oil as its primary ingredient because it has low saturated fat compared to other vegetable oils instead of trans fat. The plant-based butter also is cholesterol, dairy, and preservative-free.
With its reputation, the company already has inroads into the crowded space. "Wesson is an iconic, trusted brand that consumers turn to for unrivaled quality," says Brian Olson, vice president of food and ingredients at Richardson.