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The Washington Post reports that Europe is running out of butter, and the Federation des Entrepreneurs de la Boulangerie, an industry group for French bakers, calls it a “major crisis.”

Here’s how the Post churns the story:

“The shortage comes at a time when demand for butter is booming. For  years, margarine and other butter substitutes were the rage. But now consumption of the real thing around the world is on the rise … The growing demand has put a strain on the industry. Due to a significant fall in prices mainly brought on by a 2014 Russian embargo of European food products, the cost of a bottle of milk in many parts of the continent was lower than a similar bottle of water. The industry responded by producing less and dipping into their stockpiles, causing a 98 percent decline in inventories. Now, as prices have begun to rise again, there’s not enough butter to go around. Things are so bad that the chief executive of one large U.K. dairy recently warned that there may not be enough milk and cream for everyone at Christmas.”

Indeed, “with butter prices rising more than 20 percent over this time last year and supplies dwindling,” bakeries, restaurants and food businesses may be “forced to increase their own prices to maintain margins … or discontinue products altogether.”
KC's View:
Sacré bleu!

When I read this story, all I could think about was how, when I was much younger, friends of mine used to travel abroad and take bags and bags of Levi jeans with them, which they then were able to sell. The refrigeration issues might be a little tough, but maybe we can get a little butter black market growing.

In all seriousness, how are we not able to export butter to Europe? There’s got to be some excess butter lying around a warehouse somewhere in the US, or at least some dairy cows that are being under-utilized.