It was in the mid 1960’s that visionary Allen Buhler learned of research being conducted at the University of Wisconsin which focused on the effects of combining enzymes with milk fat to produce concentrated dairy flavors. Recognizing that this technology could lead to a consumer product that would serve as a healthier form of butter, Allen began a 15-year quest to perfect and commercialize the concept. By the late 1970’s, success was achieved and a rich tasting healthy butter product called Butter Buds® was born. This retail product was a powdered, natural butter substitute that, when water was added, made a butter sauce perfect for consumer use.
The range of applications also grew at an astounding pace. Further research in the lab as well as experience with customers showed that Butter Buds® had a variety of benefit beyond contributing buttery flavor. These additional functionalities included: providing richness and mouthfeel; the ability to mask off-flavors, the enhancement of savory and sweet flavors; and the unique capacity to round off harsh notes in seasoning blends and eliminate “warmed over” notes. Soon, applications spanned the marketplace from bakery products to prepared meats, from confectionery to beverages, and almost everywhere in between. And, processors began using Butter Buds® as core ingredients in reduced fat foods to achieve excellent nutritional profiles without sacrificing eating qualities.
By the late 1990’s, Butter Buds Food Ingredients was an international supplier of these innovative ingredient concepts. To support this growth, a new production facility was built in Racine, Wisconsin. Just two years later, an addition was completed to support the fast-expanding business. Nearly doubling the size of the plant, this new space included expanded warehouse and production areas along with new R&D laboratories. It is a facility that allowed Butter Buds Food Ingredients to meet growing global demand, continue to develop innovative ingredient technologies, and better support the development of customized solutions for its expanding customer base..
So, after all of this, where is Allen Buhler? Well, Allen is still active in the business, although at a slightly less frenetic pace than in the early years. His sons have moved into leadership positions within the company. Bill Buhler is General Manager and heads up domestic marketing. Tom is responsible for international sales and marketing while John heads up the Food Service Division. Allen’s son-in-law, Joe Albrecht, is Director of Production Services. Thus, Butter Buds®, the concept created by Allen Buhler in the mid-60’s, has grown into a thriving family business poised to venture into the next generation, and well into the new millennium.