Price of cottage cheese

Could you do an article on why cottage cheese is costing so much these days? It has gone from below $1.89 to $1.89 and then to $2.03 and $2.09 for a 24-ounce size.

It seems a whim of the grocery stores. - An irate consumer.First, we confirmed the price of cottage cheese. Then we called Utah's two major dairies and several grocery store chains for their points of view.

The price of cottage cheese has increased over the past year or so along with the price of milk products in general. According to one source, on Jan. 24, the price of a 24-ounce carton of cottage cheese was $1.77 at Albertson's; $1.86 at Smith's; $1.93 at Harmons; and $1.99 at Dan's.

On Oct. 19, the price of a 24-ounce carton was $1.89 at Albertson's and Smith's; $2.09 at Harmon's; and $2.13 at Dan's.

The stores we surveyed said the price they pay to dairies for cottage cheese has increased. A spokesman for one chain said it has maintained the margin (the difference between the price they pay for a product and the price it sells for) and has therefore increased the price to the consumer. "The only reason I've raised the price is because the price . . . to me has risen. The margin is the same," said the spokesman, who asked not to be identified.

Another approach is for a grocery store to charge an average price for a product over a certain period of time. That evens out increases and decreases that occur because of fluctuations in the market price of the product. Consumers will be paying less than the price dictated by the market when it is high, and more than the price dictated by the market when it is low.

The price dairies pay farmers for class 2 milk, the type of milk used to make cottage cheese, increased approximately 16 percent between March and September, the latest month for which figures were available. That price is determined by the Federal Milk Marketing Order, a complex formula that takes a number of factors into account including supply and demand and the price of feed. "We don't set the price we pay farmers. It's determined by the formula," said a spokesman for one large dairy.

According to a spokesman for another dairy, cottage cheese sales are down. "I think it's because of the price," he said.

There is, however, a silver cloud on this milky horizon. The price of milk products is expected to decline - good news for an irate consumer.