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Grass Fed Butter Test: Kerrygold vs Kirkland

Fats in grass fed dairy and beef are far healthier than from corn fed animals, so this is important.

Kirkland has 25% less salt, so Kerrygold wins in a taste test.

But Kerrygold has 17% milk solids, while Kirkland has 10%. Milk solids cause butter to burn:

Milk solids are the reason butter starts to burn at a lower temperature than something like olive oil. When you clarify butter, you remove all the milk solids and water, but are left with the butterfat. This creates a higher smoke point, which makes clarified butter ideal for cooking and sautéing. (source)

Kirkland brand says 95% grass fed. I’ve read that Kerrygold cows are fed hay for a month or so during Irish winters, which is supposed to be why they are also not 100% grass fed. But they’re apparently not at anytime fed with corn, which changes the fats omega content to be less healthy.

Also, grass fed cows produce yellow colored butter from beta carotene in the grass. So the yellower the better.

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I was kind of excited to see a Kirkland® brand of grass-fed butter being sold at Costco, but is it better than KerryGold®? Watch this video before you buy grass-fed butter!


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  1. Ali

    Thank you for comparing! I agree Kerrygold tastes a bit better and is easier to spread. But I like the savings of Kirkland and the lower sodium. I also wondered the % of grass fed to Kerrygold cows. Love your solution to cook with Kirkland and butter your bread with Kerrygold. Thanks

  2. Anita Toliver

    How would I find out what kind of salt is used in kirkland signature grass-fed butter? Sea or table salt?

    • Jeff Fenske

      Kirkland grass-fed is probably made with regular table salt, because sea salt would be much more expensive, and they’d probably put it on the label if it is sea salt, because that would be a major selling feature.

      The label does say it’s from New Zealand.

  3. Christine Thomas

    Why is neither butter Organic? I thought that was an important health factor….

    • Jeff Fenske

      Good question!

      It would be best if the butter was both grass-fed and organic. Then we would know that the pesticide and toxin levels are low, if the producer is honest. I’ve heard sometimes “organic” isn’t always fully organic. Some play tricks to get ‘organic’ certified, and then cheat. But high volume products from Costco might have a problem getting away with it for long.

      I decided long ago grass-fed was the highest priority for me with beef and dairy, because the fat content is far healthier, ie.:

      When a package of butter has a “grass-fed” label, it simply means the cows from whence it came were raised on a diet of grassland roughage in the warmer months. In addition to the moral perk of knowing the cow responsible for your butter board spent most of its days chilling in a scenic pasture, grass-fed butter may also contain more nutrients than standard butter. “The cow’s healthier, grass-centric diet is more natural and vitamin-rich than grain feed,” writes Foodsmiths. The outlet adds that grass-fed butter is also high in butyric acid, which has been known to “[induce] clinical improvement and remission” in people with Crohn’s disease as its good for the colon.

      According to a clinical trial in the Journal of Dairy Science, grass-fed butter also contains five times more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than butter from grain-fed cows. Like butyric acid, CLA has anti-inflammatory properties. (source)

      For ground beef, I get Kirkland 100% Grass-Fed Beef Patties, which are also not organic, and are also delicious compared to organic, non-grass-fed beef. It does say: “raised without antibiotics or hormones.”

      Regarding butter, I would assume farms would not apply pesticides to the grass cows graze on. If that was all the cows ate, perhaps it would be easy to certify the farm as organic; though, it is an extra cost, and they’re probably raising cows on many farms, perhaps owned by different families or companies. All would have to be certified.

      Then during that one month or so in winter when they eat hay instead, they may buy hay from other farms or companies, which probably aren’t certified organic.

      This article shows that Kerrygold’s toxins are probably low:

      And in the case of Kerrygold butter in particular, we have the advantage of pretty good information about the level of dioxins occurring in milk, thanks to annual reports from the Irish Environmental Protection Agency which detail just this issue. And I’m no expert, but it appears that contaminants of Irish milk are very low.

      Kirkland grass-fed butter is raised in New Zealand. I don’t see any chemical stats for it, but hopefully New Zealanders would be trying to avoid chemicals. And pesticides can be a significant added expense for farmers too, which I know some Alaskan farmers avoid, unless necessary; though, they’re not ‘organic’ certified.

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