This holiday season, grandma’s favorite sugar cookies might be missing a crucial ingredient.
While inflation has infiltrated much of the grocery store, few items have been affected more than butter, which, according to The Wall Street Journal, could spell a holiday disaster.
The problem starts with cows
Rising costs for feed and labor have led farmers to reduce their cattle herds, causing a series of ripple effects:
- Milk production was down 1% through June, compared to a typical annual growth rate of 1.5%-2.5%.
- The dairy pecking order gives bottlers first priority; then manufacturers of ice cream, yogurt, and cheese; then butter churns, which have been left in short supply.
Making matters worse, butter churns usually produce most of their butter in the first half of the year, storing it in preparation for the holidays (AKA baking szn).
How bad is it?
Some might say we’re nearing a meltdown:
- Butter prices are up ~25% YoY, trailing only eggs — the leading grocery store inflation item, up ~40%.
- Butter in cold storage facilities was down 21% in July to its lowest level since 2017.
Butter producers are telling retailers not to offer heavy discounts during the holidays in case they can’t replenish supply, and some bakers are now hoarding butter to build up their own “butter army” for the holidays, per WSJ.
On top of all this, the latest foodie trend, with 10.5B+ views on TikTok, is charcuterie-style “butter boards.”
Of course, a solution to all this would be turning to margarine.
JK, we’re not insane.
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