The Australian

Shelves empty as butter shortage hits Norway
The Australian

EUROPE’S richest country is in the grip of a spreading crisis. Supermarket shelves in Norway have been stripped bare of butter after its people ate their way through the nation’s entire stockpile.

A craze for a popular « fat-rich, low-carb » weight-loss diet has been blamed, as has a shortage of animal feed which caused a drop in milk production.

Some analysts say that the root of the problem is the near-monopoly held by the giant domestic company Tine, which controls 90 per cent of the butter supply in a country protected by trade barriers from European Union imports. Tine in turn blamed the popular diet routine.

But Arne Nygaard, a professor of marketing at the BI Norwegian Business School, said that Norway’s outdated state monopoly system was to blame. It had been created to keep prices high to protect small Norwegian farms in the north. « You have this old-fashioned market structure from the post-war era which creates a monopoly, and like all monopolies they do not really care about the consumer, » Professor Nygaard said.

Mais on sait tous que sans l’intervention de l’État la pénurie serait bien pire. Qui serait assez fou pour confier au libre-marché la production et la vente de beurre…