Why is butter so expensive?

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It turns out it’s not just me being dramatic on my Facebook status but research states that the price of butter has indeed doubled over a very short space of time.

I remember buying a small brick of the yellow gold (250g) early this year for around R25 at Spar, this evening I went to stock up and found myself forking out 25% more for the same thing (in, the, same, year, HOW.). I get we are in junk status mode but there must be more to this price hike than that because over a few years I have noticed the price of butter increasing but it doesn’t quite hit you until you work and earn your own salary that you understand why your mother stopped making scones with butter and instead opted for “baking margarine”- not the same thing!

Being the millennial muser that I am, I decided to genuinely find out and do some research and investigate why my favourite staple has become so expensive so that in future I can  contribute more willingly and knowledgeably to the butter industry and instead of feeling like I am being ripped off, actually understand how my R32 makes a difference in an artisan’s life.

One of my favourite articles that I came across when I asked google “Why is butter so expensive?” was from the

and these are the 4 interesting things I learnt about this phenomenon:

  • Butter is not just expensive in South Africa, its a global trend! While we experience double digit percentage increases in a matter of months, the Europeans are facing a very serious and very possible “croissant apocalypse” *insert gasp here*
  • The industry cannot keep up with the high demand. According to NZ Herald an online news website that profiled Fonterra (the world’s largest dairy exporter), the industry has failed to keep up with the high global demand of butter and suppliers are now overexerting themselves and their resources to match the demand as stipulated in this excerpt:

“The unprecedented demand for milk fat is what dairy giant Fonterra is blaming for the global butter shortage. The fat from about 20 litres of raw milk makes up a single 500g block of butter. That’s nearly the total amount that can be milked from two cows in one day. 250 metric tonnes of butter is churned out of Fonterra’s Te Rapa factory daily. But it ‘s still not nearly enough to meet the huge worldwide demand.”

  • All your Banting buddies, are to blame… In more than two articles now I have seen it being referenced that there has been a sudden global surge (over a 3 to 5 year period) in the demand for high fat products as a result of eating trends and this has indirectly impacted the price of our beloved butter. Who would have guessed?!
  • Apart from changing consumer habits, Business Live added that the ongoing drought in the Western Cape is also attributable to the butter price hike as they are contributors of half (along with the Eastern Cape) of all the milk production for the country, and water is one of the most important inputs in dairy production.

So naturally this got me thinking…”so how is butter produced”, and for this answer, I went to YouTube; click here to watch the video.

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Millennial musings on banking

The long and the short of this topic is that when millennials think about things that keep them up at night, the future of banking is not at the top of their list.

We cannot disregard the strides financial institutions have made (and continue to make) in order to cater for a younger and more tech-savvy target audience however, one can question whether these changes are drastic or fast enough.

Having interviewed a group of South African millennials (between the ages of 17 and 38) on this topic, two themes emerged which I did not expect and will elaborate on below.

Category A

This category consists of individuals who worked in industries other than financial institutions.

At first, the individuals within this category could not at first contextualize the question and after giving it some thought, did not think banking would revolutionize beyond digital and did not perceive it as an integral part in their future to drive anything forward so their emotions were neither here nor there.

This finding though beckons a deeper question I think, which is, “are banks marketing the right way to millennials?” Because remember, millennials are not just a group of hippie youngsters who like skateboarding and hanging out with their friends while they listen to music and eat ice cream. Another untapped audience within this category are those young people starting Fintechs and NGO’s, or Social Entrepreneurs really making a difference within their communities and making it onto the Forbes list under 30. They have substance. They have goals and plans and at this very moment, they view banks as a bureaucratic and archaic nightmare that sometimes helps, but most times hinders productivity/ success.

I think a giant leap in the right direction would be to sort out data and understand their clients better with what they already have (which is a lot) so as to lend more intuitively when it matters.

Category B

This category consists of individuals who who worked for a financial institution and maybe they are tainted because they are positioned right in the thick of the action so they do see what’s working well and what isn’t, or maybe, I just extended a bone for them to pick.

So this group of millennials were very vocal around their expectations of what role banks should play in society now and in the future. They understood how much data banks collect and how much they should know their clients yet do not and this shows in the cosnstsnt repetition in the processes the bank takes them and their staff through, when the information can just be pooled to one central system and funneled to where it needs to go in order to fulfill the client need.

Another quick gripe linked to manual requests is digitization- which is a primary focus for a top 4 banks yet the question I have around this is “are banks digitizing because it’s the new thing that must be done or is it being done with purpose- to actually improve lives?”

I think I’ll wrap this post up here for now. All comments I received offline were incredibly insightful, and some of the insights I want to share would be expressed better in a secondary post which will focus purely on thoughts and opinions aimed at financial institutions in order to help them to implement changes that will impact the future of banking which I will publish soon!

Book Review: Americanah (My thoughts so far)

So I have been the biggest fan of Chimamanda since we all first heard her speech in Beyonce’s music video “Flawless”.

However, being the fussy reader that I am, I have been putting off buying her books, despite the raving comments I heard. To be honest, when I think about why it took me so long, it wasn’t because I did not think she was a fantastic writer. I was just so intimidated (read: lazy) by the African names and context.

As an African blogger and avid reader from South Africa, my biggest fear was that I would pick up one of her books and just simply NOT RELATE. I thought I’d try and give Americanah a try and close it bitterly after trying to drill the character names into my head and relate to the storyline and the characters experiences. I was afraid I wasn’t going to be black or African enough to get it and the last thing I wanted was to read about the people of my land from a foreign context, I did not want to feel like and imposter. I was so terrified of just disliking liking it.

But alas! After an hour of research and debate in the bookstore I walked out (with a little reservation and confidence) on my new purchase and addition which was Americanah. Why was I never told Ifemelu was a blogger who had monitozed her blog!? People. I would have long been within this book if I knew this!

Needless to say, I cannot express how estatic I am to have one of Chimamanda’s pieces of literature on my bedside table. It is so surreal, and my love for her writing and storyline in the current book I am reading just make the novel that much dreamier. If I could compare Chimamanda’s writing style to food I’d say it smells like French vanilla and melts in your mouth like rich dark cocoa. Her storylines are extensive, and as deep as a freshly brewed pot of coffeee on a Monday morning. I’m in love! My second African author and I am simply in love!

I’m left with 1/3 of the book to go and I just cannot bring myself to finishing it. Do you have any recommendations of a book just as lovely, either written by her or other female African authors? Please swing your recommendations to me via the comments box 🙂

I cannot wait to share my final thoughts and my deconstructed version of a book review with you!

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Top 5 facts about millennials in the workplace

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Image source: Picjumbo

There is no doubt that many big corporates have begun to feel the effects from the entrance of millennials into their organisations. Recruitment agents and talent scouts have had to change and adapt to this new group of individuals entering the workplace (many of them for the first time) who behave in ways that have never observed before.

1. Millennials thrive in collaborative environments

Firstly, the brilliant thing (and something that will shock older generations) about millennials is this- we know that we don’t know everything and therefore, the more ideas and experts we have to work with, the better, and the easier for us because then everyone can play their part, brilliantly. The last thing that happens when we encounter individuals with more depth and knowledge than us is the threat of feeling disposable… or even worse- threatened. To us, it’s an opportunity to learn more and in some instances, the challenge of doing better and improving ourselves arises. You only know what you know and the minute you stop learning is the minute you start becoming useless.

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An environment that rebukes team work or collaboration and promotes silos, is a destructive environment that millennials just cannot tolerate. The fact that I know the solution for another department’s problem but I am “not allowed to give it to them” simply baffles us because the way we think and operate goes beyond our tiny circles of influence, the ideas we have extend beyond the invisible departmental boundaries, silos and hierarchical structures. We work on Vision, Mission, Purpose- then we execute. I mean to be honest, who the hell should care that Mary’s boss had a tiff last week with Simon’s boss so now they aren’t on speaking or sharing terms and because of that, Mary shouldn’t be either. In fact, Mary’s whole team should begin to shun Simon’s and no resources shall be shared with then until further notice. How is this moving anyone forward?

To be honest, when organisations aren’t supportive of collaboration, it creates a selfish culture and an environment where trust is absent. When individuals are compensated based on personal performance on a group task, it creates an environment where people work together but essentially only have their own backs. So how can one truly and genuinely help their colleague if this is the remuneration system? The answer is- they can’t. So please stop telling us to be team players when we get nothing but betrayal for it.

2. Millennials honestly don’t mind doing coffee rounds

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Image source: Picjumbo

This is probably the best thing you could ask a millennial to do as it gives us the opportunity to get away from the desk where we’re bogged down with administrative tasks that our 3 year old nephews could do OR this could just be an opportunity to network during the round and possibly meet our next manager… so thanks 🙂

3. Millennials don’t mind making photocopies, thick- ass PowerPoint presentations or whatever else that sucks

“Millennials don’t just want to read the news anymore. They want to know what they can do about it”

-Ian Somerhalder

As long as it isn’t useless, or something to occupy our time until you find something else for us to do. And also, as long as that small sucky thing, is crucial in the bigger scheme of things. In essence, let’s start doing more value work and less waste work. If we can fax to email, lets. If we can relay the same message in 6 slides as opposed to 20 then why not? Life is too precious to spend it not progressing and not doing meaningful stuff. Come now.

5. Millennials, when placed in traditional organisations are the key to converting your titanic into a jet ski, because let’s face it, those start up icebergs are sprouting up EVERYWHERE and they’re pretty awesome

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The Muse co-founders: Kathryn Minshew and Alex Covoulacos

Q: Who are big corporates biggest threats at the moment?

A: All of the organisations founded by 20- something year old masterminds that are sprouting up at the moment 🙂

So please stop killing us by bringing in 37 year old execs to tell you how to compete with Fintech start-ups. Stop hiring consultants and spending millions each year when the answers lie in your grad pools. Come now.

6. Millennials are loyal

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to .”

-Sir Richard Branson

So a lot of what I have read online about the issues many people face with my generation is our lack of stickiness in general. We are here today and gone tomorrow. Gone are the days where you will find a millennials sticking it through in a job to get an award for “10 years of service” never mind 5 years.

The difference between millennials and older generations is that unlike the ones who entered the workplace before us, security isn’t really a big career anchor among my generation. Many of us want to feel like we are significant and working towards a cause, something incredible. Yes the money is important, but we would rather go without it if it means that’s all we come to work for.

Millennials are more than capable of “sticking it through” but we need to believe that me matter, that our personal and career growth are just as important to our employers as they are to us and we need to believe that we are in environments with channels that are effective in wanting us to win not just for the organisation, but for ourselves as well.

The last thing millennials want to feel like is just an underpaid resource that must be seen and not heard. Firstly we were never raised this way and secondly, we believe we are great and you should to….’cause we really are!  Hahaha

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This millennials subject has been so fulfilling to write about. It is something that fascinates me because unlike some things that I need to fully research and understand, the foundation of millennials, who they are, how they think and how they operate, is something I understand at its core because I am one. I have also never seen so much consistency with the way a single generation reasons and operates. It is crazy. It is as if I’ve been cloned all over South Africa, the world actually (besides a few exceptions who I believe have either been transformed by the system or their voices have died)

I hope that my posts from these past two weeks have helped you either understands this incredible (and super crazy) generation or if you are also a fellow millennials, to actually help you see that you are not alone! I and many others stand in solidarity with you in this struggle as we try change the world, which we will :).

An open letter for anyone trying to understand millennials

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Image source: Financial Mail

When I say we, I speak for the many individuals who are between the ages of 13- 30 at this moment. I know that many can relate when I say we are the most misunderstood generation of all time (and yes you will say, “That’s how we felt when we were your age”) but then, that mystifies me because why then can you not relate to the way we think and process the world? Millennials are that golden unicorn you never thought existed 🙂

Knowing that we are the way that we are, why does it shock you or offend you when we say promote us based on the very same potential you identified when you hired us? This business of “paying your dues” is a foreign concept and some sort of prejudicial test because to you, how can we be so great when it took you 10 years right?

We are the generation that work for growth, for a cause- a purpose bigger than our own little world, and  the second you compromise on our beliefs and values, we’re out because what’s the use?

We are the generation that if given the power and opportunity, can solve your problems in half the time with half the resources. But if you don’t allow us, we don’t wait around for 10 years to “earn it”, we go right ahead and create that hub to solve the problems you thought we were incapable of solving because we aren’t about titles, tenure or complexity. We’re about impact and revolutions. We’re about “leaving footprints in the sands of time” and being “the change we want to see in the world”. We’re about having integrity; and that means speaking the same story in the boardroom and in the corridors.

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Elizabeth Holmes: Founder of Theranos

We are employees one day and self -made billionaires the next because we don’t believe in “waiting our turn”. We know what we are capable of and if we aren’t capable we will work ourselves to the bone to make up for it.

picjumbo.com_HNCK9272.jpgWe are the generation that lives in the moment, unencumbered by time or age because our minds are our greatest assets, take some time to listen to us and you will realise this as we share our ingenious ideas.

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Wits University #FEESMUSTFALL student protest

We are the generation that can start a riot with a hashtag and a mobile phone on a multi-billion dollar platform designed by someone young enough to be your child.

What older people can learn from my generation is the ability to develop grit and become big picture thinkers. To know that an idea is valid even if they don’t know how to make it happen.

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Image source: www.giraffee.co.za

What older generations can learn from my generation is that success is no longer found at the end of a Medical, Legal or Accounting qualification. Success could very well be measured by the impact you make in your world… by your ability to solve a problem that has taken multi-billion rand corporations to implement in decades, in just a year….by ensuring that by the time you die men and women are paid equally and afforded equal opportunities… by simply living out the whisper of our hearts.

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As I have said before, life is too short to compromise your journey by working your lungs out for someone who when you die, will send your family flowers and have a post advertised for your job the next day. Life is too short to pay our dues  and be someone that would make our parents’ friends proud.

Although we might not know the “how” of our lives, we most certainly know our “what”. We are the circles in a square world. The radical minds and “inexperienced” thought leaders and from what I’ve observed, for once, we are the generation that is willing to die for our truth.

Goodbye LoveSelfBeautiful, Hello Female Millennial Musings!

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Hello and welcome to Female Millennial Musings!

Having started and run a blog (LoveSelfBeautiful) for the the past 3 and a half years has taught me quite a lot about blogging- and commitment (**cough cough prospective employer**). Throughout the journey, there have been plenty of sleepless nights, tears, threatening to delete the whole site and “forget this blogging thing” and euphoria from traffic peaks, all of which milestones that I am very grateful to have experienced and believe were vital for my next step.

When I started blogging, I did not know anything about WordPress, blogging, content creation, SEO’s, monetizing, Adwords, Parent pages vs categories or how to drive traffic (just to name a few critical intricacies). Loveselfbeautiful was my testing ground, my baby and my very forgiving teacher. It helped me take my time and understand my “why” and as a result, 3 years later I understand why I blog and why my content is relevant and necessary.

The purpose of Female Millennial Musings is to produce objective opinions based on research around the millennial generation. Content is developed and curated by a millennial for the consumption of all generations, whether it be for research or for improving one’s “informed opinion”, with the aim of debunking myths and stereotypes, and showcasing how to better cater for, manage and interact with this generation in a work or social context.

So when you actually sit and analyze this, Female Millennial Musings is just a more mature, structured and focused version of my first baby. It’s a millennial that has learnt how to finally adult! Haha.

I hope you will enjoy this journey with me.

xx

T