The turkey Butterball was already in danger this season. Well, butter now too.
Across the US, the price of butter is rising as supplies shrink, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. This is especially troubling as we approach the time of year when bakers roam their kitchen, making cookies, cakes, pies and more holiday treats.
While overall grocery prices in August have risen 13.5 percent over the past year, the cost of butter has risen nearly twice that — a whopping 24.6 percent — over the same time period. And in July, the amount of butter in cold storage facilities was at its lowest level since 2017. And none of these stats are good news for the home bakers among us.
A number of factors contributed to both the butter shortage and the high prices. Dairy farms saw a drop in milk production in the first half of the year, thanks to a lower dairy herd and higher prices for farmers. Normally, milk production is growing between 1.5 and 2.5 percent annually, but as of June of this year, milk production is down by 1 percent.
Moreover, labor shortages in processing plants made it even more difficult to keep up with demand. Some butter makers have had to reduce production or stop working, said Tanner Emke, an economist at agricultural lender Kobank. The Wall Street Journal. With fewer employees, some companies are seeing a 5 to 10 percent drop in production this year compared to pre-pandemic years.
Of course, these challenges appear in the price of butter. At the end of August, the average price was $4.77 per unit, the highest price since at least 2017. The Wall Street Journal He pointed out. With butter being a staple in so much of cooking and baking — whether it’s the holidays or not — consumers have often had to put up with the higher prices.
However, some have found solutions to this problem. Kristi Petrka, who recently started selling homemade baked goods, told the newspaper she’d stock up on butter when she saw it for sale, even enlisting her parents and in-laws to help her push past the store’s limits. To that end, she now owns about 40 pounds of butter.
If the necessity has run out due to the shortage, then at least now you know who to turn to.
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