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29th June 2012

Microwave, Hair-Dryer... or Heated Butter Knife?

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 Torn toast,  clumps of uneven butter and  dry edges and are just a few of the annoyances associated with trying to spread cold butter straight from the fridge on to toast in the mornings ... but this could be a thing of the past as the UK’s  favourite family baker has today launched the world’s first prototype heated butter knife.


Voted as ‘Most Desired Breakfast Innovation’ in a poll of just under 3,000 people, Warburtons has worked with leading British designers to design The Warburtons Toastie Knife in order to solve this common breakfast-time dilemma.


Identified as one of the top five frustrations at breakfast – along with burnt toast and cold tea - inventive solutions to the spreading issue undertaken by toast-and-butter fans include:

·         Putting the butter in the microwave (28%)

·         Heating the knife on the hob (7%)

·         Putting butter onto a plate on top of the toaster (8%)

·         Using a hairdryer to soften the butter (1% ... all men)


Fully functional and battery operated, the Warburtons Toastie Knife is designed to help time-poor Brits slide through fridge-cold butter with perfection and provide toast lovers with a fuss-free butter-spreading experience in under 30 seconds.


Key features of the Warburtons Toastie Knife

  • Blade heats to a temperature of 41.8 degrees Celsius – identified as the perfect temperature for spreading – in under 30 seconds
  • Only the tip of the knife blade heats up for the best butter-on-toast spreading technique
  • Button on the underside of the handle to trigger heating element
  • Flashing LED to indicate heating element is activated
  • Ergonomically designed handle for comfort and ease of use
  • Powered by two standard AA batteries

Stuart Jones, Butterability expert at Warburtons who has spent 25 years working with the family baker to develop the perfect loaf said: “Baking is a blend of expert craft and science and to make the perfect piece of toast it is essential to use a good-quality loaf that offers BUTTERABILITY.


“This is one of the many measurements Warburtons uses to define quality, therefore it made complete sense that we should look into developing a tool that can help busy Brits achieve the perfect even-spread on their toast, even when using butter straight from the fridge. We’ve fine-tuned the specifications to ensure the speediest heat-up and perfect temperature for spreading and we’re thrilled with how well it works.”


As part of the invention and design process, experts commissioned by Warburtons identified that the optimum knife blade temperature for perfectly spreadable butter is 41.8 degrees Celsius, using the knife at an angle of 24.5 degrees (angle between the toast and underside of the handle) and a vertical pitch of 7 degrees.


Together, Warburtons and the designers identified that the best spreading technique to ensure tip-top toast involves using the very end of the knife blade, scraping a layer from the top of the butter, starting in the middle of the toast and using short strokes of the knife to spread evenly across the entire slice.


However, research showed that over a quarter of us (28%) use long strokes instead whilst nearly half (40%) of us use a combination of strokes, limiting the total spread of butter across each slice.


Most women appear to be more precise than men when buttering their toast, with over 70% of women taking the time to spread butter right to the edges, versus 60% of men.


Megan Harrison, marketing controller for Warburtons said; “We’re very pleased with the final design and are looking forward to hearing whether this is something our customers would like to see become available to buy one day.  We’ll be listening on twitter and Facebook to see if people think The Warburtons Toastie Knife should one day become more widely available.”


It is not yet certain to go into production; however anybody wishing to register their interest in potentially having a Warburtons Toastie Knife of their own one day can tweet @Warburtons using #ToastieKnife.


Editors Notes

 For more information, images or an infographic, contact the Warburtons press office at Clarion Communications on / 020 7479 0210


Editors Notes

The ‘heated butter knife’ concept was identified by research undertaken as part of the Warburtons Great British Breakfast Report 2012, with a base of 2,753 adults. Other most desired breakfast innovations included crumbless bread, ready-flavoured toast and re-heatable toast.


Further research into British toast and butter-spreading habits were commissioned with a poll of 4,257 people, conducted by Vision Critical research.


About Design Works

·       Designworks Group is a leading industrial design and development consultancy based in London, UK, Brisbane, Australia and in Kowloon, Hong Kong

·       Designworks is a creative hub for product development, prototyping, sculpting, engineering and manufacturing across many different markets and industries


About Warburtons

·         Warburtons is the UK's leading independent baker and was established in a grocery shop in Bolton in 1876 by Thomas and Ellen Warburton. Today the business is actively run by the fifth generation of the Warburton family – Brett, Jonathan and Ross

·         Warburtons is the second biggest grocery brand in the UK[1]

·         With thirteen bakeries and thirteen depots around the UK, the company serves customers from the Scottish Islands & Highlands in the North to Southampton in the South

·         Warburtons produces over two million loaves, rolls and crumpets every day and in the UK we eat the equivalent of nine million large loaves of bread on a daily basis[2]


[1] Source: The Grocer Magazine, Nielson Britain's 100 Biggest Grocery Brands, March 2012

[2] Statistics provided by the Federation of Bakers


Warburtons Press Office,
Hereford House,
Hereford Street,
Bolton, BL1 8JB

T: 01204 556600
F: 01204 523361

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