Butter Shortage Could Jeopardize TikTok's 'Butter Board' Trend
Understaffed processing plants and lagging milk production have squeezed the supply of butter and raised prices ahead of the holiday season, leading some experts to speculate that a shortage could be on the horizon. And Christmas cookies aren’t the only thing at risk.
At the same time that Department of Agriculture data showed that butter supplies in cold storage were down 22% in August compared to last year, TikTok’s Millennial-driven butter board trend was taking off.
Confused about what a "butter board" is? (We don't blame you.) Allow us to explain.
Around a month ago, TikTokkers started slathering serving boards with softened butter before sprinkling them with artful garnishes: salt, chili flakes, honey, flowers, garlic, etc. They often pair these Instagrammable spreads with artisanal bread or crackers. If you love butter, it's an easy communal snack.
Justine Doiron, a Brooklyn-based cook, helped popularize the trend on TikTok, where she makes recipe videos under the handle @justine_snacks.
“I want to make them the next charcuterie board, not to usurp charcuterie but, like, maybe a little bit,” Doiron says in her viral TikTok, which has more than 8.5 million views.
While the idea is originally credited to Joshua McFadden’s cookbook “Six Seasons: A New Way With Vegetables,” co-written with Martha Holmberg, Doiron’s post took off just last month, leading to an explosion of butter board-related content and recipes.
On TikTok, a search for "butter board" returns countless recipe videos, which cumulatively have received nearly 10 billion views on the social media platform. Google search datafor “butter board” also show that the keyword continues to skyrocket in popularity.
If the butter board trend has staying power, it could strain an already unstable butter industry, which is trying to increase produce while contending with labor shortages, low milk production, and increased exports. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average price of butter has increased 29% over the past 12 months, a reflection of tight supply.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, the senior vice president of Associated Milk Producers Inc., Marshall Reece, also warned retailers about the incoming holiday season.
“Don’t go crazy. You can’t have a fire sale on butter, we won’t be able to supply you,” he said.
The butter board trend has already had an appreciable effect on Etsy, where some stores have seen sales increases as high as 400%, according to the New York Times.
Upset about the butter board trend because butter needs nothing but salt and bread. It is the perfect food. It is unstoppable.— Lucy Huber (@clhubes) October 2, 2022