There is currently a major butter shortage in Europe, CNN Money reported.

According to the report, wholesale prices of Butter have nearly doubled in the continent due to the increase in the demand for the product globally. Customers are also hurt by rising prices of retail products in Europe.

A group that represents European bakers has labelled the situation as a “major butter crisis,” CNN stated. According of the Federation des Entrepreneurs de la Boulangerie, this can cause prices of major pastry products such as croissants and brioches to also increase.

The group reportedly noted that the prices of butter in the continent have remained volatile, but have never reached this high before.

“Butter shortages are huge threats as the year ends,” CNN Money cited the group’s statement.

Causes of butter shortage

There are a few reasons for the shortage. One reason is higher demand from international markets such as China. Foreign customers are reportedly using the dairy product as staple.

After several years of low demand, more and more customers are consuming the dairy product. Before, butter was reportedly replaced by margarine and other product substitutes.

Butter is a natural ingredient. Because it is processed less, consumers are choosing butter over other ingredients, a Euromonitor food analyst told CNN Money.

Around two years ago, the average person in Europe consumes around eight pounds of butter, higher than the 7.9 pounds consumed in 2010, the report added. In the United States, butter consumption is lower.

The average person in the United States is said to consume around six pounds of butter in 2015, and around five pounds in 2010, CNN Money cited a data from the U.S.

agriculture department.

Increased Chinese demand

Particularly, Chinese demand is among the major reasons of the European butter shortage. According to the article, demand for foreign milk items is booming in China. The agriculture department reportedly predicted that milk imports toward China are expected to go up to around 38 percent this year.

Many of these imports will come from Europe and New Zealand, including butter products.

The department of agriculture in the United States also predicted that global butter consumption is expected to increase to up to around three percent in 2017, the article noted.

Despite health-related concerns on butter consumption, the ingredient is used in many pastries, cookies and cakes.