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The Price of This Basic Grocery Item Just Hit a Record High

Your favorite ingredient may be getting more expensive.
dairy aisle

After an increase in meat prices, a mainstay staple of the dairy aisle is seeing a major upswing in price that could soon trickle down to the grocery store shelves.

Chicago Mercantile Exchange saw a record high in wholesale cheese prices in early June, when a pound of cheddar was valued at $2.65 per pound, which is a significant increase from April's prices of only $1 per pound.

We are yet to see how much this will effect the price tags of grocery store cheeses and restaurant menu items featuring cheese. But keeping an eye on cheese prices in the coming months can save you from overspending. 

Why are cheese prices seesawing so much?

While a decrease in wholesale demand from restaurants accounted for some of the volatility in the cheese market, retail sales have increased by up to 30% year over year during lockdown, due to a higher rate of cheese consumption at home.

Sales were also up at limited-service and fast food restaurants, which traditionally rely on cheese as one of the main ingredients for pizzas and burgers, as opposed to fewer cheesy items on menus of fine-dining restaurants that were shuttered.

As states are in various phases of reopening, cheese suppliers began stocking up on cheese to meet the anticipated increase in demand from reopening restaurants, which is why the current price of a block of cheddar is just 3% shy of an all-time high.

Matt Gould, an editor and dairy market analyst, told Capital Press that the spike in cheese prices is likely short-lived, "Record-high prices don't last forever. And just like giants—the bigger they are, the harder they fall." Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest food news delivered straight to your inbox.

Mura Dominko
Mura Dominko is a senior editor at Eat This, Not That!. Read more
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