Saturday 17 March 2018

Restaurants feel the pain as price of butter soars

There has been a global rise in the demand for dairy fats. Image: PA
There has been a global rise in the demand for dairy fats. Image: PA

Sorcha O'Connor

Record butter prices are putting increasing pressure on Ireland's restaurateurs, an industry expert has warned.

The price has soared following a global increase in the demand for dairy fats.

The demand, which is partially attributed to the current heatwave in Europe driving up ice cream sales and a decline in milk production, has resulted in butter prices hitting an all-time high.

The rate of increase is causing havoc in countries such as France, where bakeries are calling for an increase in the price of brioche and croissants to make sure that businesses remain in the black.

Irish restaurants are also feeling the pinch, according to the CEO of the Restaurants Association of Ireland, Adrian Cummins.

"Businesses have been complaining about the increase. Butter isn't going to break the bank but businesses have to be conscious of their overheads," he said.

"This is an additional cost and another obstacle to face. And an increase in the price of a product inevitably means an increase in price for consumers."

Last week, both Glanbia and Lakeland Dairies increased their respective milk prices for July by one cent a litre to a base of 34c a litre.

However, Irish supermarkets say they intend to "minimise the price of inflation".

Tesco's own-brand Irish creamery butter is €2.19 for 454g but the company said it could not predict future price changes.

"Our Tesco own-label butter prices are competitive within the Irish market," a spokesperson said.

The cost of button and field mushrooms are also set to jump, albeit for very different reasons.

A shortage of labour in the vegetable sector could lead to price inflation.

"It's a big problem on mushroom farms. Supermarkets are squeezing so tight.

"Farmers can't get pickers and graders on farms. It could lead to inflation in the future if the only way is pay more for the work," IFA horticulture chairman Gerard Reilly said.

The mushroom industry has already suffered blows last year as a result of Brexit.

Irish Independent

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