Arla boss warns of butter shortage before Christmas this year

Caitlin Morrison
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Is you breakfast heading for a crisis?

Dairy-lovers and toast fans, you might want to look away now: the UK has been warned it's facing a shortage of butter and cream this Christmas.

Insufficient milk is being supplied by farmers to make dairy products, Peder Tuborgh, boss of dairy group Arla, told the BBC. Farmers "put the brakes on" in 2016, he said, because of previous over-supply which led to lower prices.

Less milk being supplied means it's more expensive, which in turn makes it pricier for dairy firms to make butter, cream and various other delicious products.

Arla, which owns the Anchor and Lurpak brands, increased prices earlier this year because of this rise in milk prices.

The first effect of lower supply will be "that the price of butter rises very sharply", Tuborgh warned.

And you won't be able to rely on imported cheeses and creme fraiche - the UK won't be the only country to suffer, as Tuborgh predicted that consumers will see prices changing across Europe.

Tuborgh did not estimate exactly how much butter will end up costing, and said: "At the moment we are trying to get as much butter and cream out of our producers."

A spokesman for Dairy UK said: "There have been significant increases in wholesale prices for butter and cream recently. To what degree price increases are transmitted to consumers is a matter for retailers.

"We should however remember that less than two years ago we had a global oversupply of milk which resulted in a difficult time for farmers.

"This illustrates the fact that dairy markets are inherently subject to fluctuations and a sudden surge in milk production or unseasonable weather which depresses production can have a significant effect on wholesale prices for commodity products like butter and cream."

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