Norwegians step up online butter search

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12:04 CET+01:00
The Norwegian word for ‘butter’ has lately become the most searched for term on a popular buy-and-sell website, as an acute shortage of the desirable dairy product threatens to give Christmas a bad taste., a vast online marketplace, has registered a whopping 124,590 searches for ‘smør’ this week alone, national broadcaster NRK reports.

The in-demand dairy product racked up more than double the number of searches garnered by the second-placed ‘snøfreser’, or ‘snowblower’.

Back in third place, ‘sofa’ registered a comparatively meagre 27,435 searches, putting it just ahead of ‘iPhone4’ and ‘iPhone’.

And eager butter hunters were happy to find that their hunt wasn’t in vain, with the search throwing up 357 butter adverts posted by private individuals.

Prices for the dairy delicacy have reached uncommonly high levels in recent weeks, but the individual selling three unopened portion packs (plus one half-eaten mini-tub) for 12,000 kroner ($2,000) is thought to have slightly overestimated the severity of the situation. spokeswoman Lene Kallum was unable to reveal price details for private transactions, but she did note that the shortage had attracted the attention of cross-border profiteers.

"We can see that there are a lot of Swedes trying to earn a few kroner from this," she told NRK.

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The shortfall, expected to last into January, amounts to between 500 and 1,000 tonnes, said Tine, Norway's main dairy company.

The dire shortage poses a serious challenge for Norwegians who are trying to finish their traditional Christmas baking -- a task which usually requires them to make at least seven different kinds of biscuits.

The shortfall has been blamed on a rainy summer that cut into feed production and therefore dairy output, but also the ballooning popularity of a low-carbohydrate, fat-rich diet that has sent demand for butter soaring.

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