Donuts are one of the best snacks or breakfast foods.
There’s no shortage of different types or flavors.
As such, there’s usually a donut out there for everyone.
However, if you’re a fan of donuts, you may have noticed that they’ve become a lot more expensive.
You may wonder why donuts have become so expensive.
Why Are Donuts So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average price of a dozen donuts is around $4, but some gourmet options can cost $20 and more.
Donuts are expensive because of the cost of their ingredients, the brand that it comes from, and the type of donut that you buy.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. Drought Affecting Wheat Yields
In order to make a donut, you need wheat for flour.
The problem with wheat is that drought has made it difficult for farmers to grow.
A lot of wheat comes from the Great Plains area of the United States.
The problem with this area is that it’s been suffering from a drought for a few years.
While they may sometimes have a few rain showers, it isn’t always enough to have the water collect in large quantities under the ground.
Without water, wheat fails to grow well, if at all.
Like any other crop, the grain needs a certain amount of water to stay healthy.
When farmers are unable to get enough water to their farms, they face shortages.
Their yields can be severely impacted.
This makes donuts expensive because it means there’s less wheat to turn into flour.
Without enough flour, donut shops don’t have the main ingredient they need to make donuts.
They’re either paying higher prices to get the flour they need or they’re facing a shortage.
Either way, the donut shop will need to raise prices to contend with these higher costs.
Donuts are expensive because drought is impacting the price of wheat.
2. Cold Temperatures Killing Wheat Fields
Drought isn’t the only weather-related problem affecting wheat fields either.
Some farmers have had their fields reduced due to cold temperatures as well.
Sudden blasts of cold temperatures in areas that don’t always have extremely cold temperatures have been ruining wheat fields.
Farmers find themselves with large parts of their fields ruined because they weren’t able to harvest their wheat in time.
Some fields weren’t ready for harvest, and the temperature ruined them before they could reach full maturity.
Wheat, like other crops, prefers certain temperatures.
When the temperature goes beyond that range, the crop starts to suffer.
The problem with cold temperatures is that they’re not always predictable.
They can come out of nowhere.
It’s also practically impossible to protect crops from sudden cold temperatures.
As a result, farmers have to hope for the best.
Because cold temperatures reduce the yield of wheat even further, the supply is further impacted.
That means there’s less wheat for flour.
With less flour, donut shops have to pay more money.
Since their costs are higher, they’re going to be setting their prices higher.
Donuts are expensive because cold temperatures impact the supply of wheat.
3. Sugar Costs Increasing
A common staple of donuts is sugar.
When you bite into a donut, you’re usually met with a sweet taste.
Depending on the donut and recipe in question, that’s usually because there’s sugar mixed into the donut dough.
While sugar is usually a cheap ingredient, that hasn’t been the case in the past few years.
The high price of sugar is making donuts a bit more expensive.
There are several reasons sugar prices are high.
For one, the weather has affected the farming yields of sugarbeet.
Drought, in particular, has made it difficult for farmers to plant sugarbeet let alone harvest any existing fields.
Since farmers can’t plant seeds in dry ground, it’s impacting future sugar harvests as well.
The sugar industry has also faced problems with high transportation costs and labor shortages.
Shipping containers have been expensive to use and fuel costs are high.
That drives up the price of moving sugar around.
Labor shortages have also impacted the farm’s ability to harvest the sugarbeet that’s available.
With fewer hands in the fields, they’re only able to harvest so much before they start to rot.
That impacts the supply of sugar.
A reduction in the sugar supply means businesses like donut shops have to pay more money to source their sugar.
Since they’re paying more money, they’re selling at higher prices.
Donuts are expensive because of high sugar costs.
4. Expensive Milk Products
A lot of donuts also use milk products.
For example, they’ll use milk in their dough recipe.
The problem with milk is that it is also expensive.
That largely comes down to the expensive price of raising dairy cows.
Raising livestock, in general, has become more expensive due to drought and the price of feed.
Drought, for one, is impacting typical feed crops.
Since there are fewer crops for feed, it means the feed is becoming more expensive to buy.
Farms that have a large number of cows are spending a lot of money on feed.
Even smaller farms are facing high prices since cows eat a lot of food.
It also takes a considerable amount of money to give them fresh, clean water.
In places dealing with drought, sourcing that water can be quite expensive.
Since farmers are experiencing higher prices raising their livestock, they’re selling their products at higher prices.
Donut shops then have higher costs since they’re buying expensive milk.
Donuts are expensive because of the higher price of milk.
5. Egg Costs Increasing
Another staple ingredient in donut dough is eggs.
Not all donuts contain eggs, but some of the most common brands will add them to the dough.
The problem with eggs is that they’ve also become more expensive.
There are a few reasons behind high egg costs.
For one, chickens are also affected by the price of feed.
Although they don’t eat as much as cows, they do forage and graze throughout the day.
Farmers still have to pay higher feed prices.
It still impacts their costs.
Another big problem is that chickens and turkeys have been experiencing an epidemic of avian flu.
Avian flu is a type of aggressive flu that can quickly work its way through flocks.
It’s usually deadly for poultry.
Farmers can lose whole flocks to the flu if they’re not able to separate sick chickens from healthy ones.
Even if the chickens don’t die, the stress of the disease can keep some chickens from laying eggs until they’ve recovered.
Because some farmers saw some of their chickens wiped out by the flu, they have to work on breeding more egg-laying chickens.
That takes time.
Meanwhile, there’s a shortage of eggs.
Since there’s a shortage, egg prices are high.
Donut shops that use eggs are seeing higher costs.
They have to make their donuts more expensive to keep up with those costs.
Donuts are expensive because of the high price of eggs.
6. Vegetable Oil Is Expensive
Another common ingredient used in donut recipes is oil.
While some brands might use different types of oil, a common choice is vegetable oil.
It might be canola oil, palm oil, or another type.
The problem with using vegetable oil is that it has also become expensive.
That’s also primarily due to weather-related problems.
Whether it’s drought, flooding, hot temperatures, or even cold temperatures, farmers are struggling.
When they’re unable to grow canola, for example, a shortage occurs.
The price of canola oil increases.
If the donut shop uses palm oil, there’s a chance that it comes from sustainable sources.
Those sources tend to be more expensive.
With oil being more expensive, donut shops have to pay more for it.
Again, their costs increase, so they need to offset them by having higher prices.
Donuts are expensive because of the high price of vegetable oil.
7. Type Of Donut
The type of donut that you buy can also impact its price.
For example, if you buy jelly-filled donuts, it usually costs a bit more than just a simple glazed donut.
That’s because jelly donuts require a few more ingredients and steps in their creation.
Bakers have to make the donut, but then they have to make the jam or cream that goes in the middle of the donut as well.
Ingredient costs are higher and it requires more labor, too.
As a result, the price of the jelly-filled donut is more expensive.
There are also gourmet donuts.
These donuts may feature rare toppings or fillings.
They might have limited releases.
Something about them puts them on a higher tier of quality in the donut world.
Since they’re of higher quality, they’re more expensive.
The size of the donut also matters.
Whether you’re buying a donut hole or a large donut impacts the price.
Smaller donuts take fewer ingredients, so they’re going to be cheaper.
Bigger or longer donuts require more ingredients.
Therefore, they’re more expensive.
Donuts are expensive based on type, quality, and size.
8. Dozen Or Single
When you go to a donut shop, you usually have a selection of different quantities of donuts that you can purchase.
One of the most popular choices is a dozen donuts.
Most bakeries will arrange and make their donuts with dozens in mind.
Because they make their batches with that number in mind, they can sometimes put a bulk price on it.
However, if you were to buy a single donut, you may notice that the price is a bit higher than if you considered the price of a full dozen and divided it by 12.
That’s because the bakery has to make up for costs with that single donut that you buy.
It has a more expensive price tag on it.
It’s usually cheaper to buy batches of dozens of donuts rather than 12 individual donuts.
Donuts are expensive when you buy them in singles instead of buying a dozen.
9. Brand Name
The brand name attached to the donut also plays a factor in its pricing.
Krispy Kreme, for example, has some pretty expensive donuts.
So do bakeries known for producing high-quality donuts.
Generic brands tend to be a bit cheaper.
Krispy Kreme can get away with higher prices because it essentially owns the market.
While there are a few other big donut brand names, no one quite reaches the level of Krispy Kreme.
As such, they’re able to put whatever price they want on their donuts.
Donuts are expensive when you buy them from specific brands.
A final factor that is making donuts expensive is inflation.
Inflation makes everything more expensive.
That includes things like rental prices, energy costs, and other types of costs.
Since it’s more expensive to run a business, the business has to increase its prices to offset those costs.
Donut shops are no exception.
Donuts are expensive because of inflation increasing operating costs.