Norway farmers’ dairy cooperative TINE confirms they are attempting to stave off another year of empty supermarket shelves in light of low stocks.
The company tells The Foreigner they cannot supply enough butter based exclusively on Norwegian milk to meet predicted demand this winter for the domestic market.
Whilst the dairy company has enough milk, the fat content in this year's milk is somewhat low, At the same time, consumers’ appetite for butter is increasing.
Øystein Knoph, TINE Communication's Manager in Oslo, confirms that they have started to import butter from their producers in France that “is a butter import that is as near to the actual taste and characteristics as TINE butter as is possible."
According to him, TINE prompted increased quotas six percent total for milk producers compared to 2011 twice this year, but the company declares this has proved inadequate to meet increased demand in the butter market.
The reason for this is due to the seasonal decline in milk in the summer and low fat content in the milk produced.
Mr Knoph also confirms that TINE have asked the Norwegian Agricultural Authority (SLF) to reduce import duty on butter imports from 1 September to mid-October.
Meanwhile, as consumers possibly face another season of “I can’t believe there’s no (Christmas) butter”, the spectre of 2011’s supermarket shelf shortages may appear once more.
TINE Communications Director Lars Galtung said, in a recent statement, "Norwegian milk farmers have responded quickly and done a good job to increase their supply, but we predict that like last year it will be difficult to get a large volume of fat in milk to cover the butter production. If the situation continues then we will have to import more butter in the autumn."
Øystein Knoph tells The Foreigner he is keen to point out that TINE are doing all that they can to ensure that they do not have a repeat of the butter shortage of last year, however.
“We work with a natural product and the very nature of this product involves some uncertainties,” he says. “In addition to 200 tons of butter that are imported from France, TINE has also made a purchase quota.”
He adds there are many reasons for “a shift from the typical profit on milk fat (butter) to scarce production and stocks in several countries in Europe, not just Norway.”
“One of these reasons is an increase in the interest in making food from basic ingredients and specifically using ingredients such as creme fraiche, cream, and butter. The increase in the use of natural ingredients is partly due to media coverage of home cooking: Food programs and Chef's such as Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey cook food made from basic ingredients. The low-carb diet, popular in Norway, is only a small reason for the increase in butter sales."