The King’s Butter

This is not so much a dig at Tesco’s (because, for all I know, other supermarkets take the same approach to shelf positioning) but a warning about what the public will accept in misleading advertising and branding. Willow, a spread made almost entirely from vegetable fats, claims to be “traditionally-churned” with buttermilk and cream.

The facts: Buttermilk contains NO butter (it is the remains of the milk AFTER the butter has been removed) and the cream content (precise amount is confidential, say Dairy Crest) must necessarily be less than 1.7%, as it appears after the salt content which is disclosed as that amount. In addition, vegetable fat (which I believe to be 100% fat) comprises 78% of the Willow ingredients, and total fat is 77.9%, leaving no space for any significant dairy fat content. Therefore, I would say that Willow is entirely vegetable oil, with absolutely no real cream or butter content. For that reason, I think it should be displayed separately from butter products.

Anyway, I have no beef with people liking a spreadable margarine on their toast, but I DO have a beef with suppliers passing the stuff off as some kind of semi-butter, and I would like supermarkets to be bit more honest in their displays.

butter and willow 4

The King’s Breakfast Butter

The King asked
The Queen, and
The Queen asked
The Dairymaid:
“Could we have some butter for
The Royal slice of bread?”
The Queen asked the Dairymaid,
The Dairymaid
Said, “Certainly,
I’ll go and shop in Tesco
Before I go to bed.”

The Dairymaid
She looked along
The aisle with packs of butter in:
Cause she’d gone to buy some *butter* for
The Royal slice of bread.

She chose a packet sleepily:
Not knowing quite what Willow is
The contents list says “buttermilk”
But there isn’t any butter in Willow vegetable fat
Even though it mentions being “traditionally-churned” with cream (<1.7%) and the spurious buttermilk (0% fat).
The advertised vegetable fat content being 78% – with total fat 77.9% – that, presumably, means 0% dairy ……

butter and willow 2

The Dairymaid
Spotted the small print when she got back to the palace,
And said “Oh, never mind!”
And went to
Her Majesty.
She curtsied to the Queen, and
She turned a little red:
“Excuse me,
Your Majesty,
For taking of
The liberty,
But vegetable fat is tasty, if
It’s very

The Queen said
And went to his Majesty:
“Talking of the butter for
The royal slice of bread,
Many people
Think that
Margarine is an acceptable alternative.
Would you like to try a little vegetable fat

The King said,
And then he said,
“Oh, deary me!”
The King sobbed, “Oh, deary me!”
And went back to bed.
He whimpered,
“Could call me
A fussy man;
I only want
A little bit
Of butter for
My bread!”

The Queen said,
“There, there!”
And went to
The Dairymaid.
The Dairymaid
Said, “There, there!”
And went to Tesco Head
Office Customer Services (0800 505555 –
To complain she’d been misled by the positioning
Of the product within the butter section.
Tesco said,
“We put it with the other hard spreads so that customers can make an informed choice, having read the ingredients list,
And many people nowadays
Appear to like spreadable traditionally-churned vegetable fat
Instead of actual butter.”


The queen got some real butter
And brought it to
His Majesty.
The King said
“Butter, eh?”
And bounced out of bed.
“Nobody,” he said,
As he kissed her
“Nobody,” he said,
As he slid down
The banisters,
My darling,
Could call me
A fussy man –
I do like a little bit of butter on my bread!”

based on a poem by A A Milne


Dairy Crest say:

“Thank you for your email. The percentage of cream used in our Willow is confidential to the recipe therefore we cannot provide this information. 

We apologise that we could not help you any further. 

Kind regards

Consumer Care Advisor”

Freephone Dairy Crest 0800 328 5629


Want to read the original poem? Check here: 

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