High demand for cheese and an increase in U.S. diary exports tightened the demand for butter. The spot market price has nearly doubled over the past year, from
With butter prices moving ever higher for at least a year,
"We have pallets of butter all over the place," he said. "You look at food prices and have to make a decision to buy more or buy less of an essential thing like butter. It's like playing the stock market."
The stock market is an apt comparison, said
"Milk follows money," he said.
When cheese demand peaked, topping
A record 17 percent of U.S. dairy production is exported to
Fortunately for many consumers, there are butter substitutes. So the most affected households will be those who need real butter on that Sunday bagel or who want the richness in baked goods that only butter can provide.
Once warehouses and stores are stocked for the holidays, around November and December, butter prices should start sliding.
In a world of big box stores and mass-produced food, the only way a small bakery can survive is by making a top shelf product that stands apart, said
Minooka Pastry buys butter in 65-pound blocks and uses it in the shop's signature cookies and items such as lemon-pie filling. Since the beginning of the year, the price he pays for a pound of butter has gone from
While paying more for ingredients is never fun, he said the hit from butter prices have been offset by decreases in costs of flour and sugar, which have a greater impact of the unit cost of most items the Minooka pastry produces.
That's good, because changing menus and prices is cumbersome and something the shop tries to limit to once a year. "Ingredient prices are changing all the time," he said. "At the end of the year, you hope the ups and downs have balanced out."
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