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Bakers worry price of butter may signal shortage on cusp of the holidays



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    MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The holidays are fast-approaching and that means bakers will be busy. Those who’ve already begun their cookie-decorating may have noticed that the price of butter is up from last year. Some bakers are also worried that there could be a butter shortage.

Land O’ Lakes says their butter is up 30 percent from last year, and other brands are reporting even higher increases

“I bake cookies, I decorate cookies, I do traditional cookies, cakes, cupcakes,” said Amy Smith.

Amy’s kitchen is about to get crazy. As the owner of Cakesmith Baking Company in Rogers, she’ll bake and decorate thousands of holiday cookies over the next, couple months- while also teaching students and friends, like Chelsy Rosett.

“It’s so fun. It takes a lot of time and a lot of patience,” said Chelsy.

But there’s a new challenge to Amy’s business and passion. Costs have become a pain. Prices have essentially skyrocketed since 2020.

“I used to be able to buy butter for $1.29 to $.99 a pound and now I think the cheapest was $4.49 a pound. So we’ve quadrupled in price,” said Amy.

The price increases that Amy and other bakers are seeing has a lot to do with challenges from the farm level, up to the processing level.

“Whether it be wage inflation, ability to get labor, the costs of feed, freight and warehousing, all of those costs are up,” said Heather Anfang, Senior VP of U.S. Dairy Foods for Land O’ Lakes.

It’s their busy time of year too, but even with the rise in prices Heather is not anticipating a butter shortage in Minnesota.

“I don’t anticipate any widespread shortage. Inventory is down compared to last year because of all the disruption we discussed,” said Heather.

That disruption has forced Land O’Lakes and Amy to either eat the costs or pass them on to customers. But as long as the butter keeps coming, Amy will keep baking.

“I couldn’t imagine stopping because of it so it’s just one of the things you take on as a small business owner,” said Amy.

Land O’ Lakes says butter inventory is down a little bit, they also want to point out that inventory was above average last year. And while some stores may temporarily run out, that may have more to do with distribution rather than supply issues. Amy says she keeps an close eye on prices and sales when it comes to butter.

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