Tine, the farmers’ cooperative that controls the market for dairy products in Norway, is poised to import more butter to ward off another embarrassing butter shortage this winter. Consumers aren’t likely to get any price relief, but imported butter labelled “Sunfield” will be on grocery store shelves if needed.
The “Sunfield” butter will be marketed and sold by Tine but based on raw ingredients from abroad when there’s not enough Norwegian milk to make butter, reported newspaper Finansavisen.
“Our owners (the Norwegian dairy farmers who sell to Tine) will provide as much Norwegian ingredients as possible,” Pernille Siberg Nakken of Tine told Finansavisen. “But the butter situation in 2011 taught us that we must have room for greater flexibility.” Tine failed to see the looming milk shortage that year, and wasn’t quick enough to allow foreign butter into the market. That set off the so-called “butter crisis” that made headlines around the world, and there was a shortage of butter last winter as well.
The price of butter, meanwhile, has gone up to nearly NOK 25 (USD 4) for a standard container of 250 grams. That compares to just NOK 17-18 before the crisis began, when the containers were bigger. Tine is Norway’s so-called “market regulator,” meaning that the imported butter is likely to be priced at the same level as Norwegian butter, even though its raw ingredients are likely much cheaper.