How Switzerland plans to beat its butter shortage

Switzerland is facing a butter shortage “for the first time in years”, thanks mainly to a surge in cheese production which left little milk at the table for butter producers.

To make sure Swiss bread doesn’t go unbuttered, the country will (temporarily) change laws to bring butter across the border. 

The Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture said midweek that the country’s butter stores were running dangerously low, with only 2,300 tonnes in reserve – although this amount is up from a low of 1,500 tonnes earlier in Spring. 

In a press release, the Office said “for the first time in years, there is an insufficient supply of Swiss butter for the (local) market.”

“A shortage of butter supply, especially at the end of the year, must be prevented.”

READ: Here's how Switzerland is planning to avoid coronavirus food shortages 

The government was responding to an application from the Swiss milk industry, asking that import quotas be temporarily relaxed to allow more butter across the border. 

An additional 1,000 tonnes will now be allowed across the border, around 2.3 percent of the total sold in Switzerland each year. 

From coffee to nuclear fuel: What you need to know to understand Switzerland's strategic stockpiles 

The exemption will be granted for 2020 only. 

A cheesy excuse

Unlike other supply shortages experienced across the country in recent months, the lack of butter isn’t due only to the coronavirus – although plenty of lockdown-inspired baking is unlikely to help. 

Instead, higher cheese production has meant that less milk fat has been available to produce butter in recent months. 

Milk producers make more money from cheese production than from butter, meaning that when butter’s turn comes around, the pail is dry (or at least a little too empty). 




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French butter shortage eases in time for Christmas

French pastry lovers can breathe a sigh of relief as new figures reveal the butter crisis that has led to empty supermarket shelves looks like easing,thanks in the main to people having stopped panic buying.

French butter shortage eases in time for Christmas

Fears that France's much publicized butter shortage could hamper Christmas culinary traditions were eased on Monday.

New figures released on Monday suggest that butter sales are returning to normal in France raising hopes that no one will have to miss out on their traditional Galette des Rois on January 6th or their Bûche de Noël (Chocolate log).

The figures by data analysts Nielsen showed that the phenomenon of panic buying butter, which was exacerbating the crisis, had died down.

Sales in the second week of November were slightly down (1.1 percent) on the same week in 2016.

The amount of butter being bought in big supermarkets was up 17.8 percent but that represents a marked drop on the last week of October when sales were 41 percent up on last year.

Apart from a fall in panic buying, butter production has also increased in France, thanks in part to a rise of 3.4 percent in milk production. In July milk production had dropped by two percent.

Data also revealed that many in France turned to margarine as a replacement for butter with sales increasing by 10 percent.

Nevertheless don't be surprised if your local supermarket still has empty shelves as things may take a while to return to normal.

Nielsen revealed that 47 percent of the demand for butter was not been met in the second week of November.