After a long week of work, Sunday mornings are a precious time. They require – no, deserve – a long lie-in, a pot of steaming, strong black coffee, and some fresh, warm croissants, complete with lashings of raspberry jam. But it seems that there’s a new threat to this sacred Sunday routine – and it’s got nothing to do with work or kids.
Arguably it’s worse, because thanks to rising prices of milk and butter, the world could be about to face a croissant shortage. And yes, unfortunately pain au chocolats and cinnamon swirls will be out of the question too. You may take a moment to cry now.
It’s all because of a European shortfall in butter and milk production, something that has sent the cost of making our favorite baked goods skyrocketing by up to 60 per cent. Before you even smear it all over the inside of your french delicacy, butter makes up around a quarter of a croissant (but it’s probably for the best if you try not to think about that), so many bakeries are choosing to make less or none, rather than cut their profits or pass the costs onto customers.
Part of the shortfall has been to do with an unexpected rise in demand for butter, although Arla Foods, one of the world’s largest dairy companies, did try to warn retailers earlier in the year. Dubbed the “Mary Berry effect”, the increasing popularity of baking has seen butter come back into fashion, when previously it had been shunned by many consumers in favor of low fat alternatives.
The scary truth though, is that with the festive season rapidly approaching, we’re only going to need even more of it over the next couple of months. A Christmas morning without croissants, chocolate yule logs and brandy butter? Utterly unimaginable.
The situation is a bit of an embarrassment for French President Emmanuel Macron, who came to power on an election pledge to make the food system work better for farmers. So far, farmers have pointed out that they’re yet to profit from the situation because they are often paid according to the cost of the raw materials they use, rather than the finished product.
As the prices have soared, supermarkets across France have had to apologize for their empty shelves with certain brands notably absent from stores. The good news is that dairy production is expected to pick up towards the end of the year, so we might get a last ditch attempt to save both Christmas and our croissants.
So in the meantime, what other breakfast treats can we turn our attention to? Well, if we’re going to keep it French then there’s always chocolate crêpes scattered with strawberries, or you could go full on brunch and whip up a salmon and poached egg. We wouldn’t rule out a champagne either, y’know, like the French would. But if at all possible, we’d really, really rather not lose our croissants – they make the world a butter place.