French butter shortage puts pastry supplies on a slippery slope
French pastries and butter have become so popular abroad that the increased demand has led to a mini-shortage in French supermarkets.
The price of butter has risen 60% in a year to reach 6.7 euro (£6) per kilogram in August, according to official data, creating problems for pastry exporters and fears of a shortage in France of Christmas delicacies such as the traditional Yule Log dessert.
French regions such as Brittany and Normandy have reportedly been hit hardest by the butter shortage, which is also linked to a drop in milk supply in Europe.
Dominique Charge, the head of the national cooperative of dairy products, told French radio RTL that butter is "more and more in demand in emerging economies like China and the Middle East".
Claude Margerin Francois, who runs a small company specialising in pastry dough in central France, said she has not been able to fulfill orders from Lebanon, China and Vietnam because of the shortage.
"I'm looking for butter everywhere," she said.
Margerin Francois, who has been buying her top-shelf labelled Poitou-Charentes butter from a local producer for 15 years, said she had to furlough eight employees because of the shortage.
She added that she could have opted for a cheaper butter made abroad, but was not convinced by the quality.
"Just by smelling it I could tell it was not good enough," she said.