Reality Check: it’s a butter crisis in France?

Can it really be true that the French run out of butter? The country with the second largest dairy sector in Europe (after Germany) is not in the location of the households with such basic culinary specialties?

The answer is Yes… and no.

Yes – there is actually a butter shortage in French shops. Shelves empty. Supermarket own brands have become scarce, and often the more expensive varieties on sale, it is find only possible.

A sign in my local supermarket, one reads: “The butter market is facing an unprecedented shortage of raw materials, which is causing problems of supply in this Shop.”

There is no butter crisis. If you need butter, you’ll find it. But it is not obvious to all that the system works as it should. Something is wrong.

The experts have attributed to several causes.Spread with pride

The world market for butter has gone into overdrive. The Chinese have just discovered a taste for Western-style pastries, butter demand as an ingredient.

At the same time, the European and American consumers again in motion to butter. After years in which we were, said animal fat was bad today, the advice changed. Now, the demon is sugar. Butter has been rehabilitated, and we can distribute with pride.

Just as the demand for butter will increase on the world market, supply. According to the EU Milk Market Observatory, new Zealand, the world’s largest dairy manufacturer, exported 11% less butter between January and August than in the previous year.

And in the EU, there are specific problems. The end of the milk quota system in 2015 has led to an immediate rush to produce, dairy products. But, that is the trigger for a collapse of milk prices, driving some producers out of the market.

It is also a question of the bad weather – 2016 a good year was in France for the cultivation of animal feed, and that means lower milk production in the year 2017.

With the demand for butter will increase and supply to fall, the result is, of course. The prices in the direction of the North. Over the last year and a half, went the price of € 2,500 (£2,200) a tonne in April 2016, €6,500 in September 2017.
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But these factors are not purely French. Every country in the world has to deal with these changes in the market. Why is it only in France, we see the spaces in the shelves?

There is a simple answer – rigidities in France, the system of pricing and distribution.

In other countries, such as Germany, the supermarkets of the butter market reacts to the changing world, by their prices. In France, the costs that the buyer of a pack of butter has to be changed.

This is because the butter will be the prices a year in France, in the negotiations between supermarkets and producers. The next round of the talks is not due until February, so until then the supermarkets offer only pay what was agreed nine months ago – when the butter was much cheaper.

French manufacturers are not stupid. You can see that the world market is much more attractive than the domestic market. So, you don’t tell, “” to the super markets and the sale of its shares abroad.

So that’s why the answer to the question: is there a shortage of butter in France? – both Yes and no.

No, there is no shortage of butter. France still makes a lot from him. But the butter is now in places other than where the landowner is expected to buy it. So Yes, there is a lack of butter.