Kevin Bellamy, a global dairy strategist at Rabobank, argued that the recent lack of supply coupled with a “long term shift” among consumers back towards more natural products had also attributed to the sharp increase in butter prices.
He pointed to Time Magazine’s memorable front cover three years ago, in which the U.S. publication reported scientists had been “wrong” about the dangers of saturated fats and were now encouraging people to “Eat Butter”.
Recent studies have also questioned the link between butter and cardiovascular disease, thus supporting consumer enthusiasm for the product. Further to this, negative publicity surrounding some vegetable oil-based spreads, such as margarine, also appears to have persuaded people to switch back to the dairy spread.
In August 2015, McDonald’s announced it was switching to butter as consumer demand for natural products increased. Other companies soon followed suit.
France’s Federation of Bakeries (FEB) said butter’s meteoric price rise over the past 12 months constituted a “major crisis.” Matthieu Labbé, a spokesperson for the FEB, told CNBC that he lamented the fact that butter prices had climbed to “crazy” levels.
“In France, if bakeries wish to make croissants, pain au chocolat or patisseries then consumers will have to pay more. We hope they understand our position because making quality products means charging a higher price at this time,” Labbé said via phone interview.