I can’t believe there’s no butter! French dairy crisis starts to bite

Sky News — France is experiencing a butter shortage which, as well as pushing up the price of croissants, is causing a political problem for the President.

The shortage, resulting from a decrease in milk production and rise in global demand, comes as butter enjoys a comeback following research suggesting that saturated fats – long linked to heart disease – are not as harmful as once thought.

Bakers of goods like croissants, in which butter makes up around a quarter of the content, have been grappling with a doubling of butter prices in the past year, hitting record levels of above six euros per kilo.

Turbulence in the butter market began when the European Union abolished its system of milk quotas in 2015.

The move initially triggered a flood of milk supplies, causing a collapse in global prices that prompted dairy farmers to subsequently slash their output.

This all adds up to a problem, which is beginning to filter down to the consumer.

Signs have begun to appear in supermarkets where tubs of butter once stacked up, bringing the bad news to the increasingly insatiable marketplace.

One notice reads: “Butter shortage, indefinite duration – due to a decrease in production, an increase in global demand and a disagreement on price with big distributors.”

Dominique Charge, president of France’s federation of dairy cooperatives, explained that dairy farmers feel they receive no benefit from the price hikes.

He said: “The problem is that on the French market the right signal was not given to dairy farmers, since prices were not adjusted in relation to the drop in dairy supply.”

The government has been trying to minimise the idea of a “dairy drought”, with agriculture minister Stephane Travert urging retailers and suppliers to agree on price adjustments.