Foreign butter for Christmas baking
“We do not have enough cream to produce more butter,” says the head of one of the three butter-dairies. Now, Tine retrieve foreign butter to cover the needs of the butter-hungry Norwegians before Christmas.
“Traditionally, butter has had a bad reputation in the health sense, but now everyone wants a lot of it,” says Jon Holstand, dairy manager at Tine dairies in Voll in Rogaland.
Packaging machinery runs smoothly at the dairy, which is one of three in Norway that produces dairy butter on a large scale.
But 4,600 butter packages per hour is not enough to cover the butter needs during the holiday months, when low-carb books top wish lists, and seven different types of cookies should be baked before Christmas.
Last week the dairy in Voll produced 24 percent more butter than at the same time last year.
“We are not accustomed to the butter almost being taken out of our hands. Before we had a warehouse, but now everything goes straight from the factory,” says Holstad.
“We received 30 cartons of butter on Thursday and on Saturday it was gone,” says Kristin Byberg of Coop Mega grocery store in Klepp.
A sign that reads “Sorry, temporarily sold out!” is stuck to the butter shelf in the store, and Byberg is not alone in having to disappoint customers who are out butter-hunting. Tine is unable to meet the Christmas-induced need for butter, and is now asking the state agricultural management for reduced customs duty on foreign butter.
“Tine requested a tariff reduction on butter in the period up to the New Year, so that it can import foreign butter to meet market demand,” says executive director Elizabeth Morthen in a press release.
The butter absence is due to both a popularity in low-carb diets and low milk production, and when Christmas comes on top of that, there is simply not enough butter.
Tine has so far this year delivered thousands of tons more butter to the consumer market than at the same time last year, but still needs foreign help.
“We have made efforts to increase butter production, among other things, we have imported 150 tons of butter for industrial production and reduced cheese production in favor of more butter production. This will not be sufficient, and we therefore recommend the introduction of reduced tariffs to facilitate imports,” says Morthen.
In Voll, Holstad could produce more butter, but does not have enough cream.
“We produce as much as we have raw materials, but all products must have ingredients. Farmers have had a bad summer, and have had difficulty producing enough milk,” says Holstad.
“We order and order, and fill up as best we can. We hope every day that new butter will come, but all stores only get a little. Customers are thankfully loyal and come and see,” says Kristin Byberg.
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