Galettes des rois, croissants, pains au chocolat … why prices will increase

Tensions in the butter market are starting to have consequences for consumers.

With its pure butter puff pastry and frangipane heart, it is the star of the month of January: the galette des rois. And if the perfumes multiply, they are struggling to shake up the hegemony of the traditional recipe. At the base of this little pastry masterpiece: butter, therefore, in good quantity. But while it takes place in the windows, just like its competitor the brioche des rois, less greedy in the matter, many bakers are alerting to the rise in prices of the key ingredient among wholesalers. A situation which, according to them, forces them to increase their prices.

SEE ALSO – Between rise in the price of butter and strong circulation of Covid-19, the difficult return of the galette des rois

The wholesale price of a kilogram of pasteurized butter has indeed increased by 24% between September and December 2021, according to data from FranceAgriMer, the public establishment in charge of informing the action of agricultural sectors. The National Interprofessional Center for the Dairy Economy even reports a 30% increase in the price of butter, by calculating the average over the different categories (pasteurized butter, concentrated butter, etc.) and the purchase prices (spot price and futures price). Calculated in this way, the price index per tonne of butter reached 5,002 euros in December: a level below the peak of mid-2018, at 5,500 euros per tonne of butter, but which had not been reached since this year. -the.

No shortage yet

At the time of Epiphany, it is therefore the cost of the galette des rois that is the subject of concern. Butter represents about 25% of its mass, and some bakers have already increased their prices, the LCI news channel reports increases which can reach ten to twenty centimes per portion of pancake. Bakers are all the more under pressure as the other ingredients used in the composition have also seen their cost increase. “The sugar took 10%, the almonds 12%, the chocolate 10%, the eggs 20% …” according to Dominique Anract, president of the National Confederation of French bakery and pastry. In addition to the pancake, it is indeed all butter-based products (croissant, pain au chocolat, etc.) that are likely to see their price increase in the bakery.

In supermarkets, on the other hand, the price increase should remain marginal for the time being. In fact, the selling price charged by wholesalers to distributors of finished products (President, Elle & Vire brands, etc.) is governed by annual contracts. For the year 2022, these prices are still under negotiation, and should be set no later than March. No shortage to be deplored for the moment either. “None of my colleagues have yet reported to me having to work with margarine for lack of being able to stock up on butter.┬╗Specifies Dominique Anract.

Multiple reasons

Several factors explain this increase, starting with a decrease in world milk production (Europe, New Zealand, etc.). In France, it sees its origin in the slow reduction of the cattle herd. The number of dairy cows over the first 10 months of 2021 has indeed fallen by 1.8% compared to the same period last year (in France, the peak of the milk harvest occurs in May). Global demand has also increased sharply, driven by China. From the first quarter of 2020 to that of 2021, in barely a year, the Middle Empire saw its milk imports increase by 34%, according to data from the public agency Business France. To make matters worse, French manufacturers have chosen to direct a large part of the milk supply towards the production of cheeses and creams rather than towards that of butter. Finally, some wholesalers did not anticipate the resumption of activity in restaurants and bakers, and found themselves ordering large quantities of butter from manufacturers too late, further adding to the tension between supply and demand.

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