If you have a family tradition of baking dozens of cookies, bread and cakes over the holiday season, you may want to start preparing now instead of waiting.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said that low milk production and labor shortages have impacted the amount of butter that is in cold storage at the end of July. It is at the lowest level since 2017, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Because of lower-than-normal supplies, the cost of butter has climbed.
The price of butter in grocery stores has risen 24.6% over the 12 months ending in August. In comparison, the prices for groceries overall have risen by 13.5% over that same time period, which was the highest it has gone since 1979.
The only grocery price that has climbed at a higher rate has been eggs, which rose at 39.8%, according to data compiled by the U.S. Department of Labor and The Wall Street Journal.
Nielsen says that butter cost $4.77 a unit at the end of August, according to The Wall Street Journal.
To compensate for the expected need in the coming weeks as baking starts kicking into gear, some companies are ramping up efforts to churn more butter out to stores.
But according to the food website, Delish, butter doesn’t have as high of a priority as other dairy products such as milk, ice cream and cheese.
If you are planning on baking this holiday season, and if you can’t find all of the butter you need for your tried-and-true recipes, there are substitutions that can be made, such as using olive oil, vegetable shortening, mayonnaise and vegan butter as stand-ins, Delish suggests.
You can also freeze butter if you want to stock up now. Land O Lakes said butter can be frozen for up to four months if done so before the use-by date printed on the carton. After four months, the butter may pick up flavors and odors from other items in the freezer.
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