A severe shortage of butter has become prevalent in Israel over the past few days, with some supermarket chains running completely out of the product and stocking shelves instead with its unsatisfying and unhealthy substitute, margarine.
Mamon Magazine has learned that the Israel Dairy Board and the Agriculture Ministry have appealed to the Treasury with a demand to increase butter imports from Denmark and Holland by 400 tons.
The dairy market is protected and allows almost no importation, and that which exists is under tight supervision by the Industry, Trade, and Labor Ministry. Only around 550 tons are imported annually, in a market of some 9,000 tons of local production.
The Dairy Board explained that the shortage derives from a rise in global butter prices, coupled with a 5% increase of demand for dairy products in Israel in 2010, which forced manufacturers to stretch thin their milk supply.
The board also said it is working to end the shortage by asking dairy farmers to increase milk production and its fat content.