If you are spreading butter on your bread today, you are not alone. Once viewed as an artery-clogger, butter is enjoying a boom and threatens to topple margarine's grip on our toast for the first time in three decades.

Propelled by the launch of lighter spreadable brands, butter sales leapt by 9 per cent last year and are expected to rise by a further 6 per cent this year, to £570m. Projected growth over the next five years will leave butter on the cusp of overtaking margarine sales for the first time since 1983, the market analyst Mintel reported yesterday.

Despite government advice to avoid too much saturated fat, sales of reduced and low-fat spreads have fallen. Consumption of margarines and low-fat spreads fell from 77g to 72g per person per week between 2004 and 2007, while butter rose from 35g to 41g.

Butter consumption fell to 31 per cent share of the "yellow fat" market in 1990 as shoppers opted for "healthier" margarines, but has bounced back to 47.9 per cent this year. Mintel said in a report: "Butter benefits from the shift in consumer preference from calorie counting to balanced health management and natural, tasty foods."

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