Many foreigners cannot understand (or Norwegians) why there still is an ongoing butter crisis in Norway, one of the world’s richest countries. The crisis has now lasted from early November 2011, and still many grocery stores lack real butter.
One of the main causes of the crisis is that dairy products manufactured in Norway are ‘monopolized’ by the dairy cooperative Tine, which is owned by 15,000 Norwegian raw milk farmers. There is only one serious, but relatively small competitor; private-owned Synnøve Finden. The company has not had the capacity to cover the butter shortage and is dependent upon buying raw milk from Tine.
Compared with other countries, the Norwegian arctic climate is very hard with tough conditions for the farmers. So far, the population has been positive to maintain restrictions on imports of dairy products as an instrument to maintain the population in rural areas, and to preserve Norwegian farm culture.
The reasons for the butter shortage
As for sour cream and cream, butter is produced from milk fat. In the summer of 2011, the weather in Norway was unusually wet and cold, resulting in reduced milk production and decreased production of milk fat.
In addition, there has been an ongoing ‘low-carb’ diet trend in Norway during 2011, which has resulted in much higher butter consumption than normal (and bacon consumption, which there is no shortage of).
Imports of butter
The authorities have gradually opened up imports of EU produced butter, and the situation has improved somewhat. The question is for how long Norwegians will show patience and accept Tine’s de facto monopoly.
Thor News recommends our readers to use margarine products for cooking and baking. A good and healthy alternative!
Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews
Photo by: Chris Chidsey