Soaring butter demand sees supply shortage hit Finland, Sweden and Russia

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Butter, Milk

Soaring butter demand sees supply shortage hit Finland, Sweden and Russia
Shops in Finland, Sweden and Russian will suffer some ‘scarcity’ of butter supplies for the rest of this year, as leading Finnish dairy processor Valio struggles to meet soaring demand.

Retailers in Finland and Sweden have already reported butter supply shortages this autumn, due to a boom in demand for butter and a shortage of raw milk.

A Valio spokeswoman confirmed the accuracy of quotes given by vice president of food production, Reima Luomala to the Finnish press last week, and herself told “There will be some scarcity of butter in all those main markets.”

Valio has been forced to reduce supply both in Finland and Sweden during the autumn due to insufficient milk supplies, Lumala told media outlet YLE.

“Milk production can’t be expanded immediately. For the rest of this year we’ll have to cut back on the amount of butter available in all our main markets,”​ he said.

Butter consumption boom

Luomala said that Valio – which is the largest dairy operator in Finland – was unable to expand production immediately, with the company striving to cater for butter consumption up 20 per cent in country this year compared with 2010.

“For the rest of the year, we’ll have to cut back on the amount of butter available in all our main markets, which are Finland, Sweden and Russia,”​ he said.

An Arla Ingman spokeswoman told that increased demand for butter (in Finland at least) was due to consumers in the country using more natural products, as well as the trend towards low GI (glycemic index) diets.

“Due to the trend towards real and natural food consumers are buying more butter, as well as products with less additives,"​ she said.

She added: “Also, dairy products with higher fat are selling more, and therefore the milk fat is used in other products like yogurt and cheese.”

Prices set to rise

Despite Valio’s supply issue – which has hit availability of all butter brands in Finland and Sweden – the spokeswoman insisted that Arla Ingman was producing sufficient product volumes to supply its contract customers.

“We have also nearly doubled the production amounts in butter to meet customer needs,”​she added.

Asked how Valio planned to tackle its supply problem, the firm’s spokeswoman said: “Valio will be as efficient as possible in planning the production, so that all the main market needs could be filled fairly.”

Valio added that it expected Finnish butter prices to rise, not just due to increased demand but also the fact that the nation had the EU’s lowest-price butter, while milk prices were amongst the most expensive in the bloc.

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1 comment

Maybe a positive from this difficulty

Posted by J'Marinde Shephard,

Knowing how enterprising people in these parts of the world can be (and from my own Norwegian roots), I am anticipating a new cookbook of recipes using substitutes or without butter, cream, etc. I don't mean to sound callously dismissive. I am allergic to dairy and am often looking for alternatives to recipes demanding the use of dairy (Romegrot) and hope now I will be able to find viable recipes. I prefer to see this as an opportunity to meet a challenge by a group of VERY enterprising and talented cooks.

I do, however, feel for them in this crises, especially at this time of year when baking with these ingredients is such a vast cooperative family and cultural venture. Maybe this will encourage manufacturers to make more of the viable dairy substitutes those of us with allergies have been all but begging for, and to enable the continuation of not only the usual holiday and cultural standards, but engender the development of new ones as well. Maybe there can be a positive from this most difficult of situations. I certanly hope so.

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