Eating healthy may get a lot easier this summer.
A hard-to-explain butter shortage is driving up prices for fatty foods, including ice cream, cheese, cream cheese and baked goods like croissants, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.Analysts say the shortage, which is causing the price of milk butterfat to rise, may be caused by anything from federal export subsidies to a growing demand for sweet, buttery foods.
While dairy farmers are welcoming the price increase, consumers and food companies may lose out.
With Grade AA butter's wholesale price at $1.95 on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange - compared with around $1.12 at the start of the year - supermarket prices could be $3 a pound this summer, the Journal said.
"Prices could climb so high that we might actually see consumers cut back on butter," said Robert D. Wellington, an economist at AgriMark, a dairy cooperative based in Methuen, Mass.
The Friendly Ice Cream Corp., Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Inc. and Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. have all said they will raise their ice cream prices. Butterfat is a key ice cream ingredient.