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Swedes churn a profit from Norway butter crisis

Swedes churn a profit from Norway butter crisis

Published: 15 Dec 2011 14:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Dec 2011 14:54 GMT+01:00

Enterprising Swedes are looking to capitalize on Norway's ongoing butter shortage by offering the sought-after spread on popular buy-and-sell websites, with one seller hoping to score a Gibson guitar in exchange for a pack of margarine.

Swedish buy-and-sell site Blocket.se on Thursday included a copious number of ads from Swedes offering butter to suffering Norwegians at prices as high as 700 kronor ($100) per kilo.

Many of the sellers offered to deliver the butter to Norwegians desperately in need of the dairy product to fulfill their holiday baking needs, while at least one planned to be selling on-site in Oslo.

“We're in Norway now and on FRIDAY between 12.00 and 14.00 we'll deliver BUTTER in Oslo for only 400 kronor/kilo,” read on ad on Blocket.

Another seller calling himself “The Butter Man” (Smörmannen) touted what he considered to be a “great deal” involving a single package of Lätta-brand margarine.

“Will trade a TOTALLY NEW package of Lätta for a good steel stringed guitar,” the man writes in the ad, adding that he would prefer a “Gibson or equivalent”.

If an interested buyer doesn't happen to have a guitar, however, the “The Butter Man” said he would be willing to part with his box of Lätta for “a few thousand kronor”.

Swedes were also flocking to Norwegian buy-and-sell site Finn.no offering to help supply fat-craving Norwegians with Swedish butter.

"We can see that there are a lot of Swedes trying to earn a few kroner from this," Finn.no spokeswoman Lene Kallum told Norwegian state broadcaster NRK.

This week alone, the site had registered a staggering 124,590 searches for ‘smør’, the Norwegian word for butter, and boasted more than 350 ads from private individuals looking to sell butter made in Sweden, Denmark, or Norway.

One Finn.no seller was even offering three unopened portion packs (plus one half-eaten mini-tub) for 12,000 Norwegian kroner ($2,000).

A representative from Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet also traveled to Oslo and set up a stand downtown offering 60 packages of butter for free, prompting passers by to recall the way in which Sweden helped Norway back in World War II.

“Back then you offered crisp bread, clothes, and shoes,” pensioner Ornulf Ruud told Aftonbladet.

“And now you're coming with butter. Sweden is fantastic.”

The gesture from Sweden almost moved Olso resident Per Morten Grøslie to tears.

“You're our salvation. Without butter, I can't eat my beloved rakfisk with lefse for Christmas,” he said, referring to the traditional fermented fish dish served on potato flatbread – which is most often served with butter.

David Landes (david.landes@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:36 December 15, 2011 by Vill
Seems more like an inconvenience than a crisis. I live fairly well without butter.
15:50 December 15, 2011 by jvtx3232
I like the way butter tastes.
08:00 December 16, 2011 by Liefje
well margarine is NOT butter, is it?

I would not want pack of Latta even if i got paid to accept it, thanks very much.

Do they have shortage of BUTTER or reformulised oil ( which basically what margarine is)?
13:22 December 16, 2011 by spo10
People would think that Norwegians are starving because of a butter shortage. I have friends in Norway but I never heard them complain about it.
15:51 December 16, 2011 by Beavis
More Arla marketing nonsense.

Norwegians can tell the difference between margerine and proper butter.

If there is a shortage they will get it from Denmark.

as Norwegians eat the same butter the rest of the planet eats wit hthe exception of Sweden.
16:05 December 16, 2011 by danielatrujillo
I think it's kind of disgusting that Swedes and others are trying to sell the butter but especially for sooo much. It's the holidays. Spend some kronor on butter and give it away or if you're absolutely wanting to take advantage, sell it- but for less.
16:21 December 16, 2011 by Tanskalainen
Santa doesn't want the Norwegians to have any butter (naughty people). The Danes don't want to sell butter to the Norskies because of the stiff tariff. The tariff has been suspended for one month only and the Danes aren't falling for that nonsense.
18:31 December 16, 2011 by ericksoneric
Oh have Norway call on Wisconsin, their brothers across the sea, the Dairy state can supply butter for all y'all
23:07 December 16, 2011 by skumdum
I agree with danielatrujillo there's an ongoing butter crisis in Norway and now it's not the time to take advantage of the situations. People should instead help the poor norwegians and give them as much butter as they can spare.
15:33 December 17, 2011 by David S
So let me get this straight - Norway is having a shortage of butter, which they need for their christmas baking, so some "smart" swede tries to sell them Lätta, which is a margarine, not a butter, and which says on the pack it shouldn't be used for cooking!

And The Local doesn't pick up on this "flaw" at all?

2 x Fail.
05:46 December 18, 2011 by Lotec
This is just a media hype. First of all there was no margarine crisis. We has way to much of that stuff. But many people want to use butter when baking Christmas cookies.

No one is taking advantage of Norway here it is just for fun. The insane internet prices included. Norway bought 120 tonns of butter from Belgium anyway - so there is no "crisis" anymore.

Is was just caused by the low carbo diet, a company controlling the amount of milk made in Norway and stuff like that.

I just have to laugh at the Danish dairy that didn't want to sell butter to Norway.. ohh so bad.. :-)

What if Norway stopped travelling to Denmark. More then 1 million Norwegians travel to Denmark every year and they use 2.4 million hotel rooms. They buy over 2 million liters of beer, 700 000 liters of wine, 12 million tonns of meat and so on..

Who would loose the most?

There is no problem getting butter. The EU have an over capasity of both butter, cheese, wine and so on. But Norway have import taxes to protect the local farmers. Anyway.. when I read abouth this in the news I realised I have not bought butter for at least the last 15 years..
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