The Scottish Government has announced 'urgent' help for shortbread makers and bakers who are suffering in the wake of Europe's Great Butter Shortage.
A Feasibility Study has been commissioned to explore opportunities for collective buying and storage, to increase market competitiveness and boost sales.
The study will also look at the potential to forecast future market activity to mitigate the effects of volatility on the sector.
The work is being delivered through the £1 million Market Driven Supply Chain (MDSC) project, announced in March.
Speaking at the RBS Food and Drink conference, Rural Economy Fergus Ewing said:
“Our food and drink industry is a significant and growing part of our economy and we want to support our manufacturers to compete in global markets – particularly during times of economic pressure.
“The price of wholesale butter has doubled since the start of the year, with wholesale prices at a record high. This is a concern for many of our smaller food and drink manufacturers who use butter as a primary ingredient, such as our shortbread and confectionary producers and bakeries, and who are finding trading tough.
“We have listened the concerns of our manufacturers and this urgent feasibility study will explore opportunities to exploit buying and efficiency savings made available through collaboration, boosting productivity and competitiveness within domestic and global markets. We expect to see the outcome of the study within the next month or so and we look forward to supporting the industry if whatever way we can. ”
The butter shortage has many factors: a sharp rise in global demand for the product, consumers returning to butter after doubt was cast over it's link to heart disease, and a dip in production in Europe.
Source: Scottish Government.