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Where Has All My Butter Gone?

A bank of empty supermarket cold cases. Where's my butter?

The reply, “No stock, sir.” is a common one in the Philippines. At least, it is outside of the National Capital Region. What’s an expat to do?

Butter Battle

I was raised eating margarine. Back in the day, the fat in butter was said to be bad for you. So my family, along with most Americans, switched to margarine.

About 15 years ago, I read some reports which claimed that the ingredients in many margarine brands were no better for you than the natural fat in butter.

I switched back to butter. I was using olive oil to cook with, could a couple of pats of “bad” butter on my toast be so bad?

Melted Expectations

One of the problems with butter is that it’s hard when you take it out of the refrigerator.

When I wanted it on my toast, I had to wait for it to warm up before I could use it. Because of this, I stopped using butter except to cook and bake with.

When I moved here to the Philippines, I thought I’d have to give up butter completely. There is no real dairy industry here like there is in most other countries. I thought butter was a thing of past.

Supermarket Spread

A tub of Lurpak Spreadable Butter and Olive Oil spreadI was pretty happy when I found that supermarkets here carried butter products from Europe and New Zealand. I started using a combination spread made by the Lurpak company. It was a mix of butter and olive oil so it was always soft, even right out of the fridge!

I’ve used this spread for over two years now. Except lately. Lately, I haven’t seen it in SM, NCCC, or Gaisano.


It’s been two months now that I’ve been spreadless in Davao. I’ve had to use my mother-in-law’s margarine that I just don’t like very much.

What happens to items in the supermarket like this? You buy them for two years and then one day, they’re not there! Suddenly, they’ve disappeared all over town!

I used to think that it was just bad inventory control by the supermarket. You know how it always seems that they’re out of something when you go grocery shopping. “No stock, sir.” That’s what you hear.

Now, I’m not so sure that it’s the local store’s fault. I can’t find this particular spread at any of the stores it used to be available at. I think it’s a problem with the importer.

Whatever it is, it’s a shame. And I guess I’ll be eating dry toast for a while longer.


Tubs of my butter in a store cold case.On November 19, 2017, the S&R in Davao had a motherlode stock of my butter spread! 

I haven’t checked out any of the supermarkets in my area yet but there seems to be at least a greater possibility that Expat Butter Life may be returning to normal!


Photo of empty cold case: SupportPDX Flickr via Compfight cc

6 Responses to Where Has All My Butter Gone?

  1. Queenie October 30, 2017 at 4:36 PM #

    Gee JD,

    I haven’t had any trouble up here in Cebu finding that spread. I wonder what the deal is? I buy Lurpack sometimes, but mostly I get the Anchor Spreadable which is half butter, half rapeseed oil( I just read) .For cooking and baking I buy Queensland Butter in the can at S&R.
    Back in the day it seemed all that was available was Star Margarine, which is still popular with many I guess.:)
    Hope something shows up on the shelves for you soon!

  2. JD October 30, 2017 at 5:58 PM #

    I will have to dispatch my minions to stores in other parts of the city to see if my butter has flown.

    It almost seems like a conspiracy: it’s disappeared from three different supermarkets at about the same time. I could see one market deciding that it didn’t want to carry it but three at once?

    I’ll look for the Anchor Spreadable. It sounds like a good alternative.

    Thanks for the reply, Queenie!

  3. Queenie November 6, 2017 at 9:01 AM #

    Hey JD–went to S&R yesterday here in Cebu, and not a brand of spreadable in sight! Had to get some spreadable cream cheese instead.
    Forgot to check when I was at Hyper in Mandaue City earlier in the day, but I’ve noticed that for a while now there hasn’t been any Kraft brand mayo or Miracle Whip. Bummer! The sales clerk said that import deliveries had been delayed and many items wouldn’t be around until December. Let’s hope all that we’ve been searching for will arrive then!

  4. JD November 6, 2017 at 12:59 PM #

    Thanks for the heads-up, Queenie! Come to think of it, we got the last Philadelphia spreadable on the shelf at S&R a couple of weeks ago. Haven’t seen any in the regular markets. Gee, I wonder what happened to create such a delay?

  5. kathy November 11, 2017 at 7:34 AM #

    Can you freeze it? Maybe you could buy up a s#!tload of it and freeze it for future use?

    • JD November 13, 2017 at 4:01 PM #

      I’m not sure, Kathy. It has olive oil and vegetable oil in it as well as butter. I know you can freeze butter. Maybe. I could try now that it seems to be back on the shelf. It’s worth a shot. Thanks!