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Cabin-boy

Butter shortage

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I normally warn people to stock up on fuel before coming too France but this time it's butter. Really it's: "I can't believe there's no butter"! 9_9 The country is currently suffering a soft-spread shortage. See attached photo taken last Saturday. Perhaps Chris in Roscoff or Colin in St Malo can confirm it, but here in the Loire Valley most shops have completely run out. My first thought would be to 'make more butter' but clearly that hasn't occurred to President and Elle et Vire etc. So if you are heading over to France on holiday, make sure you come prepared.  

DSC_0319.JPG

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There has been a butter shortage in the UK for the last 6 months or more. Of course we have applied the usual UK solution to problems - jack the price up so much that people are reluctant to buy it - problem solved.:)

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8 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

French supermarkets unwilling to pay more and Chinese new found love of croissants.

https://www.economist.com/news/europe/21730877-forget-about-making-croissants-margarine-french-are-fretting-over-sudden-butter

Hit the nail on the head there Neil. Plus EU milk quotas mean it's not easy to increase production quickly.

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Another take on this in an article from 1 November in expat newspaper Connexion: https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/France-s-butter-shortage-is-worst-in-the-west

Articles in The Guardian going back to June about this, but here's one from October: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/25/croissants-in-crisis-could-french-bakers-crumble-amid-butter-shortage

The Guardian article is worth reading. It includes the following, which might interest Terry Dorset:

"The turbulence in the butter market began when the EU abolished its system of milk quotas in 2015. At first there was a flood of milk supplies, causing a collapse in global prices that prompted dairy farmers to slash their output. Then butter consumption rose worldwide amid reports that it was no longer seen as a health risk and was better than vegetable-oil alternatives like margarine. Consumers in the US, China and the Middle East now eat ever increasing amounts of butter."

Edited by Jardinier

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There’s plenty farmers around where I stay and in Scotland in general who moan about the price they get paid for their milk , yet there’s a butter shortage? 

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Can't blame the EU for everything that goes wrong...

There's no shortage of milk but of cream. Over the last decades and in most european countries there has been a shift to cattle breeds such as Prim'Holsteins which are producing a lot of (poor quality IMHO) low fat high protein milk. So the amount of cream available for butter making has diminished and the demand for butter has dramatically risen.

French breeds such as Normande or Pie Noire Bretonne produce far less milk than a Prim'holstein or a frisian but their milk has much higher fat content hence the butter making tradition in Brittany and Normandy.

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The other factor, mentioned by the article from the Economist, is that the big supermarkets negotiate every February with the producers and fix prices per kilo etc for the following 12 months. They don't however fix the quantities involved so when demand is high and supply is low the shops can't raise prices for customers and pay more for the butter so subsequently the manufactures sell their stock to Germany etc who are willing to pay higher prices. Hence the current problem. Production may be slightly down but there is still plenty being made in France. The problem is that is all being sold overseas.  Ed. 

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21 hours ago, Jardinier said:

Another take on this in an article from 1 November in expat newspaper Connexion: https://www.connexionfrance.com/French-news/France-s-butter-shortage-is-worst-in-the-west

Articles in The Guardian going back to June about this, but here's one from October: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/25/croissants-in-crisis-could-french-bakers-crumble-amid-butter-shortage

The Guardian article is worth reading. It includes the following, which might interest Terry Dorset:

"The turbulence in the butter market began when the EU abolished its system of milk quotas in 2015. At first there was a flood of milk supplies, causing a collapse in global prices that prompted dairy farmers to slash their output. Then butter consumption rose worldwide amid reports that it was no longer seen as a health risk and was better than vegetable-oil alternatives like margarine. Consumers in the US, China and the Middle East now eat ever increasing amounts of butter."

Oh the perils of being retired. You get out of touch so quickly :o

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