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December 12, 2021

Norway, where butter costs nearly $500 a pack

Norway is one of the richest countries on earth. It is, if you consider the measure of public policy group The Legatum Institute, the most prosperous nation of all.

Yet all is not well in Norway as the holidays near.

At a time when baking is at a premium, an acute butter shortage is causing a bit of a goofy panic for the dairy product in the Scandinavian nation.

But it’s not just housewives facing line-ups at the supermarket. We’re talking entire families not being able to afford a pack of butter.

According to the Times Live, a rainy summer in Norway is to blame for the shortage, cutting into feed production and therefore dairy output, but so too is the growing popularity of a low-carb, fat-rich diet, which has sent demand soaring.

*Bing: How much does butter cost in Canada?

The butter crisis has gotten so bad in Norway that online sellers have been hawking 500 gram packs for as much as $474.

“Compared to 2010, demand has grown by as much as 30 per cent,” a spokesperson for Tine, Norway’s main dairy company, said.

Certainly, such butter scarcity isn’t your typical commodity shortage in line with, say, the Arab oil embargo of 1973. But similar dearths have happened before.

Earlier this year, for instance, onion prices spiked in India as the vegetable became rare, and a sweeping, global shortage of chocolate is forecast going forward.

Yet for now, amid news that the shortage of butter could last in Norway until the New Year, opportunists are looking to capitalize and make a quick buck.

As near $500 packs of butter fly off shelves, customs officials stopped a Russian at the Norway/Sweden border last Friday with about 200 pounds of butter stashed in his car.

By Jason Buckland, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...