Take a walk through the butter aisle in your local grocery store and you will see several butter brands packaged in rectangle and “scround” tubs. This space-saving, more stackable design is a big trend with butter and cultured dairy manufacturers, as it allows for more containers to fit on the store shelves and in transit. For consumers, it’s easier to store in their refrigerators, say manufacturers.

Challenge Dairy Products Inc., Dublin, Calif., introduced a lactose-free spreadable butter in a 15-ounce scround tub this summer. The company also uses similar containers for its flavored and spreadable butters.

"The scround packaging concept, originally developed and used throughout Europe, provides benefits to both our customers and consumers," said Greg Schwarz, vice president of Marketing at Dean Foods, Dallas, Texas. "For our customers, the design results in less negative space between packages in the case, on the truck and ultimately on the shelf. The stackability of the scround is a real benefit for retailers as it offers up more space in the already crowded dairy case."

Dean Foods updated its cottage cheese, sour cream and dip packaging last year, going from a standard cup to innovative curved bottom containers with rectangle lids (a scround design, that's easy to stack). Dean Foods, which makes sour cream under the Land O Lakes brand, has a licensing agreement to use the Land O Lakes brand on milk and cultured products. Read more on this packaging update here.
Schwarz said, "Research verified [that] consumers like the stackability and refrigerator features of the package. Additionally, the curved bottom and shallower depth are more convenient for spooning the product. Plus, the packaging is recyclable which underscores our ongoing commitment to be an environmentally responsible company."

Keeping up with the packaging trend, makers of nondairy buttery spreads also updated their tubs.

New packaging for butter alternatives

Country Crock, a brand of Englewood Cliff, N.J.-based Unilever, relaunched its nondairy buttery spreads this summer with an updated recipe and also a rectangular design. The company previously used a round tub for its products.

"The new packaging was designed to be lightweight and reusable, and it went through extensive testing to ensure that it is both durable and easy-to-use," said Benjamin Crook, marketing director, Unilever Baking, Cooking & Spreads Co. "In addition to the space-saving design, the artwork on the packaging, including the logo, has been refreshed with a more modern and bright look and feel."

Crook said the new packaging still contains the same amount of product. The spreads will continue to be sold in the same sizes, including 15-ounce, 30-ounce, 45-ounce and twin packs. The company also uses a scround design for its 15-ounce spreadable butter with canola oil.

Ahead the game a couple years ago, Boulder Brands, Boulder, Colo., makers of Smart Balance and Earth Balance nondairy buttery spreads, focused on a more efficient shape with its new square packaging, released in 2013. The company switched from a 4.5-inch diameter round tub to a 4-inch-wide square tub, which allows grocers to put 60 units on the shelf in the same space that previously held 40, according to the company. It also uses a shallow 7.5-ounce scround cup for its spreadable butter products.

Look for other butter and cultured processors to follow suit with more of these stackable and reusable tub designs.