Northern Ireland producer Abernethy fears butter prices to rocket as cost of 500g hits £4
Popular baking TV shows partly to blame
One of Northern Ireland's top gourmet food producers has blamed the fast-rising price of butter partly on the popularity of TV baking shows such as MasterChef and the Great British Bake Off.
Allison Abernethy - a driving force behind the award-winning Abernethy Butter - fears that the prices of all dairy produce are set to rocket.
She was speaking after BBC food guru Kim Lenaghan had an online 'meltdown' over the price of butter.
Writing on Facebook, Kim said she was stunned when she spotted butter at £4 for 500g on shop shelves.
Kim posted a pic of the pricey kitchen staple and wrote: "Can somebody please explain to me how Golden Cow butter is suddenly £4 a lb! Utterly disgraceful!."
Only a year ago, Golden Cow butter was on sale at under £3 for 500g - and was on offer in Supervalu at just £1.79.
As word of Kim's post spread, it sparked a massive social media reaction from foodies - among them Mrs Abernethy.
She wrote: "Last year milk prices were at rock bottom, so lots of farmers went out of business or culled their cows. So now there is a shortage of both milk and cream. Plus there is no butter mountain in Europe anymore to keep prices low.
"And because of baking programmes on TV there's more demand for butter. Butter could be £6 per pound before Christmas and cream will be £6 for two litres.
"That means local bakeries and small producers like us are struggling with these prices as we don't want to increase our prices."
Can somebody please explain to me how Golden Cow butter is suddenly £4 a lb!!!! Utterly disgraceful!!! #exploitation #unjustifiablePosted by Kim Lenaghan on Thursday, October 19, 2017
Ulster Farmers' Union spokesman Barclay Bell reckoned bigger economic factors were in play.
"There has been a huge surge in demand for butter coming on the back of a downturn over the past couple of years in world milk production," he said.
But Kim now fears that good traditional butter could soon be priced out of the reach of ordinary folk.
"How can it now be a luxury item that, along with cream, may soon be beyond the reach of an awful lot of people ... and in a society founded on agriculture and first class products."