Posted by: Sarah | November 30, 2011

Norway And The Pre-Christmas Butter Shortage

Something rather odd is happening in Norway at the moment – a butter shortage.  I find it hard to get my head around the fact that one of the wealthiest countries in the world is struggling to put butter on the shelves in the shops.  I did hear that it was easier to get butter during the rationing period of WW2.  It’s not a big deal (unless of course you’re trying to bake the 7 Christmas cookies) – it’s just strange!

So why is there a butter shortage?  A number of reasons have been discussed in the press and on the TINE website (the main supplier of butter) – here’s a summary:

  • Apparently Norwegian cows produced unusually low amounts of milk during Autumn – approximately 20 million gallons less than in the same period last year.  That’s it, blame it on the cows.  They can’t defend themselves :-)
  • Another theory is that the Norwegians have gone crazy for a low-carb diet before Xmas and as such are eating more butter than ever.
  • There is an unusually high demand for butter at the moment – TINE have shipped 1000 more tons of butter than in the same period last year.  I know I’m baking the 7 traditional Christmas Cookies but I’m really not using that much butter!  TINE think it’s because Norwegians are suddenly interested in baking/cooking meals from scratch using natural products rather than processed foods.

Measures have been put in place to rectify the situation a little – some shops have restricted customers to purchase only one pack each and apparently the government has reduced the import tax to try and increase stock levels before Xmas.

All that said, they don’t anticipate things getting back to normal until January 2012!  Luckily I have 50g of butter left in my fridge for the final cookie challenge – phew!


  1. I know! The butter shortage caught me by surprise… leaving my pie crusts a little limp for Thanksgiving. :-( Oh well. So nice to see another expat blogger in Oslo. There are quite a few of us! I’m looking forward to trying out a few of the recipes you’ve posted. Thanks for sharing! And have a lovely holiday!

    • Great to hear from you Audrey – I’ve read your blog. Brilliant. Perhaps we should have a little Expat Bloggers get together in Oslo!

  2. I’ve also heard that the wet summer effected the feed that the farmers were able to put up for winter. Less food = less milk production. I’ve put an extra pack of butter in my freezer in case things get desperate ;) Thanks for the posts on the cookies! It’s our first Christmas in Norway, and so we’re trying to pick up on the traditions as best we can!

    • Great to hear you’re stocking up on butter too. I still can’t get hold of any – it’s crazy!

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