France is having a butter shortage, due to falling milk production and rising global demand. Bob Mezan reports.
France is having a bit of a butter crisis, and in a country where a croissant is a staple, a shortage of butter is a big deal. The shortened supply is the result of falling milk production and rising global demand, with emerging markets buying more of it and consumers who once shunned butter as unhealthy, now embracing the product. As a consequence France has been caught short and prices have risen. That's leaving big butter users, like bakery owner Samir Kichou, worried about having to charge their customers more. SOUNDBITE: Samir Kichou, bakery owner, saying (French): "If it continues like this, if there is still a trend of rising prices, I will be forced to pass this on in my prices. Especially because the year-end holidays are approaching, with Christmas preparations and particularly the "Galette des Rois" cake which needs a lot of butter, if there is not a significant decline, we will be forced to pass on the price increase." Supermarkets in parts of France have left gaps in their butter sections, with some stores displaying signs explaining the shortage. Meanwhile dairy farmers are complaining that they get little benefit from the soaring butter markets, arguing that what they are paid is more often tied to cheaper raw milk and milk powder prices. The butter-supply tensions highlight the challenges faced by President Emmanuel Macron to honor an election pledge to change practices in the French food chain so farmers get a better deal - and consumers get their croissants.