New Zealand-based multinational dairy cooperative Fonterra is commissioning a new butter production line in response to the growing demand for butter, driven by celebrities scarfing down its chocolate croissants on social media.

The new production line in Fonterra’s factory in Edgecumbe, northern New Zealand, would almost double the facility’s butter output from 4,500 tonnes to 7,000 tonnes, the company said in a statement on 10 July.

Allan Muggeridge, Fonterra Edgecumbe operations manager, said the first butter sheet would off the new line on 1 September.

“We’ve been watching demand for butter build for a number of years now. The building part of the project started in May so it’s been a quick turnaround to get it up and running,” said Muggeridge.

According to the firm, global butter demand remained strong as consumers were switching to natural products and were prepared to pay for them.

As a result, butter prices in both New Zealand and the rest of the world were on a continuous upward trend, said Fonterra’s general manager of marketing for global foodservices, Susan Cassidy.

In Fonterra’s case, the firm’s butter demand was driven by its Muddy Buns – also known as Dirty Dirty Bread or Zang Zang Bao – which had gained popularity around the world, particularly in China.

“The Dirty Dirty Bread can best be described as a chocolate croissant. People love the flaky chocolate pastry that’s coated in rich chocolate ganache and sprinkled with cocoa powder,” explained Cassidy.

“It makes it impossible to keep your face clean while eating. They are popular with celebrities who have taken to social media to share images of their ‘muddy bun face’ experience,” she said.