How Switzerland plans to beat its butter shortage (again)

For the second time in less than six months, Switzerland is facing a butter shortage.

How Switzerland plans to beat its butter shortage (again)
Photo by Sorin Gheorghita on Unsplash

To beat the shortage, the Swiss government will temporarily relax its strict import rules to allow for more foreign butter to slide across Swiss borders. 


The Federal Office for Agriculture will rise the import quota by 1,800 tonnes – around four percent of annual consumption – from September 1st. 


Stocks in Augusts should be roughly 4000-5000 tonnes, however the current stockpile is at only 400 tonnes. 

Second lockdown in 2020

In a press release back in May, authorities 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.”

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


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. 

The main reason for the shortage is a fall in butter production alongside a rise in consumption. 

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

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

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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Rivella: What is the milk-whey drink the Swiss love so much?

It is easy to fall in love with chocolate and cheese, but loving another Swiss favourite — Rivella — may take some time.

Rivella: What is the milk-whey drink the Swiss love so much?

What, you have never heard of Rivella, the fizzy drink made from milk whey?

Although far lesser known abroad than in Switzerland, and therefore not as generally associated with  “Swissness” as, say, Toblerone chocolate or Gruyère cheese, Rivella is nevertheless a Swiss invention.

It is very popular, even though, unbeknownst to most people, it was actually concocted in a bathroom (spoiler alert: it wasn’t as bad as it sounds — see below).

The Swiss have been drinking this carbonated beverage since 1952, when Robert Barth, a law student from Zurich, finally fine-tuned his recipe for a new soda. He had experimented with various ingredients in the bathroom of his home, before finally getting just the right proportion of milk serum, herb extracts, water, caramelised sugar, and various minerals.

But is Rivella — so named after the town of Riva San Vitale in Ticino and the Italian name for revelation (rivelazione) — really a quintessential Swiss drink?

It is.

Not only was it invented in Switzerland by a Swiss, but it also contains about 35 percent of milk whey, so we can only assume that (Swiss) cows were also involved in its production.

What does Rivella taste like?

The taste of original beverage (the one sold in red bottles) has been described as “gingery,” “candy-like”, and “fruity.”
It definitely doesn’t taste like milk, though.

This video shows how Americans react to Rivella.

How many flavours of Rivella are there?

Besides the original red-label (“gingery”) one, there’s also Blue (with fewer calories), as well as Green Tea, Mango and Rhubarb.

Thankfully, they are no longer produced in Barth’s bathroom but in a factory in Rothrist, canton Aargau.

How does one drink Rivella in Switzerland?

Pretty much the same way as other sodas like Coca-Cola or fizzy mineral water — warm.
In general, the Swiss are not fond of ice or very cold drinks, claiming it causes sore throats.

Where can Rivella be purchased?

Literally everywhere where food and beverages are sold.

However, this drink is very difficult — if not impossible — to find outside of Switzerland.

In 2005, Rivella exported a limited number of bottles to the United States, where it was marketed as a niche health product.

However, even though the US is a huge soda market, the experiment …fizzled out within a year, and the bottles were withdrawn from the shelves.

The reason for the flat sales was that “Rivella was completely unknown in the US,” company spokesperson Monika Christener said at the time.
“Swiss people, on the other hand, grow up with Rivella; they are almost as familiar with it as breast milk.”

And here’s another typical food that mostly likely only the Swiss like:
What is Aromat and why are the Swiss so obsessed with it?