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France could face butter shortages by autumn, supermarket head warns

It comes after a sunflower oil shortage in spring, which was linked to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

France could face a shortage of butter later this year Pic: Defotoberg / Shutterstock

France could face a shortage of butter by the autumn, the head of supermarket chain Système U, Dominique Schelcher, has said. 

He said he was following the situation closely following warnings from suppliers. 

“Less milk is produced each year in France, so there is less fat available,” Mr Schelcher told Franceinfo. 

“I fear that supplies will be complicated at the end of the year. The manufacturers who produce butter are already telling me that.”

The shortages are not expected to mean shelves entirely empty of butter, but rather limited stock and potentially increased prices. 

Mr Schelcher’s warning comes after France faced a shortage of sunflower oil in April as people bought it in excess, fearing that the price would rise significantly due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the knock-on effects on supply. 

Read more: Rush to stock up on oil and flour in France: sales up 55% on 2021

It also meant manufacturers had to replace the oil with other fats, including butter.

A lot of French butter is also exported with increases in particular, for example, to China last year.

Cheese is also said to be more profitable for farmers than butter, which may be another factor. 

The current heatwave hitting France has also caused changes to cows’ diets which is having a further impact on milk production. 

Read more: 12 French departments on ‘red alert’ for heatwaves, PM announces

Butter is used widely in French cuisine, both as an alternative to cooking oil and in popular products such as croissants and pains au chocolat. 

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Sunflower oil replacement in France: What if I have allergies?

Price of wine set to rise in France due to shortage of bottles

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