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The Price of Butter

Here in the Greater Boston area, I've noticed a spike this month in the price of butter. Since Labor Day, butter that previously sold for the past 2 years in value-oriented supermarkets (Market Basket, Hannaford, and Price Rite) for $2/lb has jumped 35-40% in price.


Apparently, this price spike for butter might ease back as production surges, but sugar prices will not (and, frankly, should not).

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  1. Yes, since the middle of August there has been a sharp spike in almost all dairy prices, pork as well. Pork is not expected to ease, dairy should, but probably not until after the holidays.

    4 Replies
    1. re: DiningDiva

      Coincidently, I was just at a Costco ; I purchase their "Kirkland' Unsalted Butter because it has a very "high score", meaning the water content is quite low and it minimizes the splatter and spitting when sauteing. I do not know which creamery produces this for them but it is of very good quality. The price was$9.99for a 4 lb pack. or $2.50/lb.

      1. re: ospreycove

        We use Kirkland butter too and it's pretty good. I use it in baking and candy making with no problems.

        1. re: ospreycove

          $7.49 for 4 pounds at Costco yesterday. The day after Christmas...

          1. re: Cathy

            Sam's was 9 something for 4 lbs last week.

      2. I just noticed the same last week in Florida. Store brand butter could usually be bought for 2 for $5.00 at the most. It is now $3.59/lb. What's up with this? I find it hard to believe there is a supply problem, but I guess it is possible because of some freaky summer weather in the entire eastern U.S.

        1. *in the house* totally agree with you (@sarge, I'm in FL too)...I have a Land O'Lakes coupon for $1.00 off any size package and I'm thinking the 8 ounce (2 sticks) is the size I'll buy...sheesh!!!! Terrible prices...only good thing is that I'm just baking for my son and me...so I only need a little, but yeah, very noticeable!

          1. Geez, it's about 4$/lb here in Montreal when not on sale.

            1 Reply
            1. re: AnchovyBourdain

              Might be due to the clout of the Quebec dairy farmers. Here in Toronto, it's almost always on (as a loss leader, perhaps?) at $2.99/lb. Certainly, often enough that if I buy 2 lbs, and put one in the freezer, I never have to pay more than that.

              And my ex travels to Buffalo often, where she stocks up on butter at $2/lb.

            2. Just 2 cents from someone who worked in dairy farming for a few years- we had strange summer weather (affects feed prices) and high oil prices (which drives up the price of fertilizer and fuel, thus drivng up feed). No matter how you slice it, this is going to force the hand of the milk price, no matter how subsidized it is. I would just be thankful that we don't pay for the true cost of producing milk and milk products.

              1. Butter prices usually go up in the fall, IIRC. I think it's a combination of increased demand from all the holiday cooking and baking and decreased/and or more expensive production (cows don't naturally produce a lot of milk this time of year).

                ETA: The price of butter hasn't gone up much relative to the price of other things. Historically, a one-pound loaf of bread cost about 20-25 percent of the cost of a pound of butter, and that sure ain't true these days!

                2 Replies
                1. re: Ruth Lafler

                  Butter goes on sale around here yearly just before Thanksgiving and then again for the two weeks before Christmas. Those are my stock-up times - a case in the freezer. But last year the price was $1.75/lb. This year $2/lb is a bargain. I get sticker shock when I see the usual price of butter around here and can't imagine the prices elsewhere. $6.49? ( =-O)

                  1. re: morwen

                    It is rather disgusting, isn't it? I refuse to pay the $6.49 on principle - that is why I stock up when I can when it is $4.99. Even that is ridiculous compared to most by the looks of things! The cheapest I can recall within the past several years was $3.99 and we bought a huge case of it.

                2. Blame the Russians, actually their drought, which has forced up demand and prices for grain and thus animal feed. Almost all feed lot dependent products are up substantially....as opposed to the dirt cheap lobsters that Market Basket has had at 3.99 and 4.99 lb all summer (no grain necesary to feed and raise)

                  1. Butter here is $6.49 a pound where I live in Alberta. I managed to get 10 lb on sale last week for $4.99.

                    8 Replies
                    1. re: chefathome

                      It seems prices have come down somewhat in FL

                      1. re: sarge

                        What are they at now?
                        Many years ago I worked in a tiny village in northern Saskatchewan to which there were no roads - people had to fly in. There the butter was about $8 per pound and that was 14 years ago! As newlyweds we found that price extremely prohibitive and settled for margarine. Most dairy products and perishables were about twice as expensive as elsewhere in Saskatchewan. However, we did have a small living allowance. SMALL. Wonder what the price of butter there would be now...

                        1. re: chefathome

                          I saw land O Lakes a 2 lbs for $5.00 the other day.

                          1. re: sarge

                            What the heck? And here I was thinking that $6.49 per pound is normal...

                            1. re: sarge

                              $2.50/lb has been the standard sale price in the Boston area since the price jump (up from $2/lb before the jump).

                              1. re: Karl S

                                All fall until a few weeks ago, butter was wholesaling at $2.75 lb. It's came down now, surprisingly just before Christmas (maybe because sales went way down?) and is now just over $2.00 So keep your eye out for supermarket loss leaders. Something I observed, but I have no definite proof if I'm right, is that some of the cheaper brands seemed to have a lot more water and less fat in it, to the point of affecting your cooking noticably. So don't cheap out completely if you can help it.

                                1. re: coll

                                  Actually, I've found generic store brand butters have less water than some name brands. This was a shock to me.

                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    Well the one I had trouble with was Somermaid, so avoid that one! I believe they are the makers of Plugra too.

                      2. I make my own butter in the FP. I tend to make big batches and freeze it.
                        Really easy, fast, and I always seem to find cream on sale.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: sedimental

                          Good for you! We used to make butter on the farm as kids. It was bright, bright yellow, from our milk cows. Drawback - we had to milk those cows before and after school!

                          1. re: chefathome

                            A few minutes with the food processor = fun.......
                            Milking cows 2 times a day = not so much fun :)
                            If you haven't made butter since then, you should try it, it will bring back memories and it tastes soooo good! I like mine with organic cream and just a pinch of salt.

                            1. re: sedimental

                              With the food processor? Excellent - we used to do it in the churn or jars! And I'm not that old...

                              Will give it a try - it does sound like fun!