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Why is cheese so damn expensive in Salt Lake City?

h
Howard_2 Dec 17, 2006 02:20 AM

In Salt Lake City, cheese of all kinds of expensive. Even the stuff from Wisconsin is priced much higher than the same stuff is priced on the east coast--but it has to be easier and less expensive to get cheese from Wisconsin to SLC.

Not only that, but there's a big milk-producing area here, the Cache Valley.

So why should cheese of all kinds be so horribly overpriced here? Oh, well, of course, the stuff I consider....umm...not very interesting, like "American cheese" and other stuff sold in 2-lb blocks, is not all that expensive. But anything like Brie, even domestic brie from Wisc., is expensive, ditto blue cheese, anything imported (e.g. Jarlsberg).

I have one guess: perhaps the more interesting cheeses are regarded as a luxury, and priced accordingly.

  1. u
    UTgal Apr 16, 2012 08:38 AM

    Next time I leave Utah I'll pay attention to this. Obviously I buy it without giving it a second thought because....I live in Utah! :-D

    In a few weeks I'm visiting the Oregon coast and will hit up the Tillamook factory. Mmmmm.

    1. g
      goodspirit Apr 15, 2012 01:37 PM

      recent finds
      Banquet brand cheese is made in Salt Lake City and usually reasonable
      I buy it at Reams
      Grand Tetons aged Cheddar also made by Banquet is fantastic on
      pasta reminds me of fresh Asiago I found it at Harmon's for only $2.49 8 0z block

      At Smiths The bulk block pre packed cheese in the deli area runs under $5 a pound

      I found blue cheese at (Arabat Alibaba) I get confused they are on t he same side
      west parking lot separate entrances doors usually priced under $10 a pound

      VARIABLES milk and cheese is demand driven esp by ice cream and butter
      thus price of cheese cost and transport costs

      Many local cheese producers were purchased by conglomerates
      like Sargento I wont buy their cheese as it is sometimes over priced

      Keep your shopping ears on
      The recent Sunflower Mkt Merger will become Sprouts Farmers Mkt later this year
      Winco and Kroger stores may start price wars
      as Associated Foods was trying to cause a grocery monopoly in Utah
      I sure miss Safeway and IGA maybe they will move back to Utah?

      1. DiveFan May 9, 2008 06:25 PM

        ROFL, er, sorry......

        Because much of the inexpensive commodity Cache Valley cheese is exported to discount stores here in California. Apparently we don't have enough mediocre cheese production by Hilmar and Joseph Gallo.

        Perhaps your local market cheese buyer is, er, incompetent. Or just simple economics - locals don't eat enough cheese for economy of (purchasing) scale.

        I'd head for Costco - they still have great prices on Tillamook cheeses here; Cabot from Vermont occasionally makes an appearance there at comparible prices.

        EDIT - why are we replying to this old post :-\ ?

        1 Reply
        1. re: DiveFan
          hill food May 9, 2008 10:03 PM

          good point DF, I had to look at the dates, but insane prices on EVERYTHING are a current topic (and even more topical), a lot is due to the cost of oil and the diversion of agriculture from food towards methanol.

          but comfy shoes can be so expensive.

        2. g
          goodspirit May 8, 2008 11:40 AM

          I find cheese reasonable and on sale. I found it for around $3 a pound this week
          check the grocery ads and delis and stock up when its on sale some cheese
          you can freeze and it keeps just fine.

          1. blue room Jan 16, 2007 07:57 PM

            Ok, today I saw .58 pound of St. Andre cheese for $8.69 at the Wild Oats store in Salt Lake City. Is this comparable to other parts of the country?

            1. h
              Howard_2 Dec 26, 2006 12:25 PM

              Cheesemonger, your ideas re distribution make sense.

              I wonder, however, if another aspect might not be pricing specifically intended to present certain cheese as luxury items.

              Also, I would think that by now the folks in the Cache valley would have grasped the idea that you can sell certain kinds of cheese--blue cheese, ripened (brie etc), swiss-type cheese--for much more than you can sell munster or other "commodity cheese". Not only that, but with the reputation of the population of Utah as hard workers, you'd think they could try to build a reputation as a world-class cheese center. (Tho that might go against some other ideas that I see prevalent in Utah.)

              1. c
                cheesemonger Dec 25, 2006 07:46 PM

                yes, it's transport costs. In much of the middle of the country, there aren't even any decent distributors, so for the most part, everything is flown or shipped in, which greatly adds to the cost.

                Also, since local distribution is lacking in the middle of the country (this I know lots about), the trajectory of your WI brie probably is not WI-> UT, but rather WI -> NY (or CA)-> UT. This could even be true of something made in CO.... it can't just pop over the hills to UT, but has to go through the available distribution channels, which aren't always a straight line.

                To say nothing of the import stuff. It costs quite a bit of $$ to drive/fly a chesse imported into NY from Europe to SLC.

                1 Reply
                1. re: cheesemonger
                  u
                  uptown jimmy Jan 16, 2007 08:00 PM

                  To paraphrase, you live, as we used to say in rural NC, in the middle of nowhere! ;)

                2. c
                  cheesehead in recovery Dec 25, 2006 04:47 PM

                  I used to visit SLC (relatives lived there for 4 decades....
                  I do recall that food in geneal was very expensive out there...our theory was transportation costs....

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