A grinch has stolen our Christmas (cookies)! The U.S. is suffering a dairy shortage due to overall lower milk production and staffing issues at rendering plants. These issues have delayed butter production by months and caused the price of butter to skyrocket even before the start of baking season.
Between grocery shelves and cold storage facilities, the U.S. supply of butter is at its lowest level since 2017. Making this kitchen staple one of the hardest hit by inflation. According to data from the Labor Department, butter prices went up 24.6% between late July 2021 and August 2022. Butter is only beaten out by margarine (up 38.3%) and eggs (up 39.8%). All 3 are not only commonplace in most American kitchens but they are also staples in a lot of baked goods. So you may have to be a bit more selective on who you make granny’s chocolate chip cookie recipe for.
The dairy industry is very much aware of this issue and is working to ensure supplies don’t dip any lower. “We want to run the assets we have harder when we can get more milk off-farm,” said Joe Coote, chief executive at Darigold Inc, to The Wallstreet Journal.
We’d also like to remind readers who may be concerned that butter does freeze well. Making stocking up a more viable option if you can find it for a good price. There are also a lot of substitutions for it in many recipes. While margarine is obviously out, items like Crisco, olive oil, and coconut oil are also options that are currently less hit by inflation.
We will keep you updated on all butter-related news as it becomes available.