PARIS—A looming butter shortage has pushed prices up to exorbitant levels, and one baking industry group is warning of “a major crisis” that could imperil the very existence of the croissant as we know it—or at least as we ought to know it.
A “major crisis” over a crescent roll? Oh, yes.
A true French croissant is an entirely different beast from the mass-produced, flabby incarnation that populates grocery store pastry aisles. The crust is golden-brown and delicately flaky. A single bite will send flakes fluttering into your lap or sticking to your fingers, so perhaps not the most elegant choice if on a date, but, ah, the taste sensation. The multi-layered interior is light and tender with an intense, buttery flavor—and for a good reason. Butter is crucial to creating a French croissant. Lots of butter.
“A croissant is composed of 25 percent butter,” Armelle Favre, a spokesperson for the industry group Federation des Entrepreneurs de la Boulangerie (FEB), explained to The Daily Beast. “And butter,” she added, “accounts for half of a croissant’s costs.”
A lack of this essential ingredient could therefore spell doom for the pastry that is an integral part of much of the country’s morning routine—croissant and coffee for breakfast, anyone?
“We have gone from paying €2,500 ($2,798) per ton [of butter] to paying €5,300 ($5,930) between April of last year and June,” Matthieu Labbé, an FEB representative, told Agence France Press earlier this week.
Labbé said that the butter shortage could mean that customers will be shelling out more for their beloved baked good. And this is apparently the best-case scenario.
“Our concern is also not being able to get butter in the coming months, and that production lines will stop,” Labbé said.
And it gets worse. Croissants are not the only famous French treat under threat. The dearth of butter could also impact other goodies like the pain au chocolat (a square, croissant-like pastry…