Norwegian Language Blog

Butter Shortage in Norway Posted by on Dec 21, 2011 in Norway and the world


While there are clearly worse things, the recent smør (butter) shortage in Norway is certainly proving to be a big deal for a country that uses as much smør as Norway.  There are seldom meals without a gob of smør in them.  Smør is a typical ingredient in sauser (sauces) and in julebaking (Chistmas baking).  Traditionally, Norwegians bake 7 different kinds of småkaker to serve with Christmas dinner.  No lefse is complete without a healthy spread of smør and sukker (sugar).

For instance, the following is a typical list of ingredients in lefse-you´ll notice quite a lot of smør and sukker are requested.

To make about 24 lefse:

  • 5 lbs (2+ kg) or about 10 large potatoes
  • 3/4 cup (6 oz) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
    (= 8 tablespoons or 1/4 lb or 1 stick)
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4-5 cups all-purpose flour

Perhaps you have seen an article or heard about it on TV.  If not, brace yourself, young Norwegians who have secured significant access to smør, have devised a way to sell it online for $100 per kilo!  Companies are taking advantage of consumer´s major desire for smør and offering it as incentive to become a member or subscriber.  Although perhaps annoying for some, it´s a pretty good business strategy;)


Why, you might ask, does Norway not have any smør right now?  There are various reasons behind the smør shortage.  Some below the poor weather in the spring did not yield enough for healthy cows and thus there is less cream to make smør out of.  Others blame the matbutikker (grocery stores) for alleged manufacturing of the shortage.  Another reason includes the Norwegian governments import duty on smør and thus inhibiting import of this commodity.  Last but not least, the low-carb, high-fat diet is quite popular right now.  All of these reasons have presented Norway with a smør shortage.

It really is a bummer that this shortage comes right before the holidays, which is the time in Norway when the most smør is bought and used.

Please find here an entertaining part of the Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN´s newspaper):

´Neighboring Scandinavians, perhaps sick and tired of Norway always being “the richest” and “the safest” and “the most literate,” have smugly put on their earmuffs at Norway’s request for emergency supplies. Some small shipments arrived last week, but many households have given up on this year’s holiday baking.´

If you are in Norway, I hope you can secure some smør for your julebaking!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. Dagfinn:

    A few pointers:

    We do not do julebaking but julebakst or we baker til jul.

    It is one lefse, two lefser and so on.

    We do not blame the matbutikker but we blame the matbutikkene (actually we do not blame them but that is another story).

    A fact in the end; this is due to a sudden but now widely popular diet of low carbo which made the demand skyrocket all of a sudden.

  2. Norwegian food recipes:

    Nice recipe.. I am Norwegian and have made al ens with Norwegian recipes, så plz visit my site for some Norwegian knowlage 🙂