Butter is a staple in many of the foods we eat.
You can use butter as an ingredient in baking or to grease a pan so things you don’t want to stick to a pan won’t.
Butter can be a great help in the kitchen, and using it will make your life quite a bit easier.
However, butter can be expensive.
Some recipes will call for a stick or two of butter, and before you know it, you have spent a good deal of money on the butter.
Here are a few reasons behind the high price of butter.
Why Is Butter so Expensive? (5 Reasons)
1. Salted vs. Unsalted
To start off, we should address the two different types of butter.
Both butter types are expensive, but unsalted butter seems to be priced a bit higher than salted butter.
Salted butter is essentially butter with salt added to it.
Salt is a cheaper ingredient than butter, so when salt is added to the butter, the price generally tends to go down a little bit.
Unsalted butter is pure butter.
There are no additives, and it sometimes has a fresher taste as well.
Since unsalted butter is a more natural ingredient, it also tends to be priced a little higher.
Salted butter tends to last longer on the shelves as well, which helps to make it a slightly better value.
The salted butter tends to be a little less sweet than the unsalted butter.
You can really use either unsalted or salted butter, but it should be considered when you are making certain meals.
One thing to remember is that, if you don’t use butter often and you want to keep it around in your fridge for a while, the salted butter will be a better choice.
Both salted and unsalted butter is going to be expensive, but you will save a little money when you go with the salted.
2. Supply and Demand
Several years ago, McDonald’s decided they would go back to using real butter in all of their meals.
Instead of using artificial butter products, they were ready to switch to a purer form in their food.
This was a big announcement and a big switch, and it almost immediately impacted the price of butter.
As you can imagine, McDonald’s is a pretty large customer when it comes to purchasing ingredients.
When they make a change and decide to purchase or add a new ingredient, it can completely change the market.
Supply and demand is a big factor when it comes to the price of butter.
There are lots of people and organizations that depend on butter, and therefore, they will demand more from farmers.
This is something that is hard to avoid, and it can be hard for farmers to adjust to the demand for the butter as well.
Butter is a unique product, and many people use it on a daily basis.
When the demand is as high for a product as it is for butter, it is common for the price to be affected.
The pricing of butter continues to go up because the demand is not going down.
The United States makes a great deal of butter because of all the dairy farmers that are located around the world.
Since the US produces so much butter, it starts to export the butter as well.
When there is demand from both the United States and outside countries, the price is certainly going to rise.
3. Increase in Feed Prices for Cows
Butter comes from milk fat.
The butter we all eat needs to originate on a farm from the milk from a cow.
This, of course, will have some impact on the pricing of butter.
In order to keep the pricing of butter down, the farmers have to have fair costs when it comes to their milk production.
In a year where the price of feed for cows goes up, there will be issues with butter pricing.
Essentially, the more expensive it is to produce butter, the more we will pay in the stores.
In addition to the extra money farmers have to pay to feed their cows, there are additional costs with butter when it comes to shipping and storing butter as well.
As you are very likely aware, when shipping butter, there is going to be quite a bit of refrigeration involved.
A truck full of butter that is not refrigerated will be like a truck full of butter soup.
In other words, before you purchase the butter in a grocery store, there is going to be quite a bit of other expense that comes along the way.
Expect that, when you purchase any product, you are paying a few middle men, a producer, some shipping, and more.
4. Alternative Butters
Butter can be a little high in fat, so people have started looking at alternative kinds of butter.
Many of the alternative kinds of butter are priced quite high because they claim to be healthier.
Whether or not they are healthier is up to the individual customers to decide.
However, with the price increases of these alternative butters, the price of traditional butter has started to rise a bit as well.
If you can buy butter with less fat than a classic butter, should it be priced higher or lower than the traditional butter?
Essentially, butter has had to market itself to compete with alternative kinds of butter.
There are people out there who want the full-fat butter because it tends to be a bit more natural.
When you shop for alternative butters, make sure you know what you are paying for.
At times, you will end up paying more for a butter which may or may not be as healthy for you.
When there are additives put in to make butter less fattening, it could be a better idea to just use a bit less butter in your cooking.
Even with all of the cultural changes and people eating healthier, the demand for butter is still high.
Now we have to pay for butter to compete with the alternative butters as well.
5. Prepared Food Culture
You may not realize how much butter is in the food you eat.
When you go to a restaurant and eat out or purchase prepared food from a grocery store, there is quite a bit of butter in it.
With all of these locations needing to add butter to their food, it creates a very high need for butter.
Since the supply can’t generally keep up with the demand, the prices get very high.
When you purchase butter in a grocery store, you are essentially competing against restaurants and other businesses which sell food.
People are making less and less of their own food and starting to eat more and more prepared foods.
Prepared foods and eating out are very easy ways to get through a busy day.
However, they do tend to have quite a bit more butter in them than the food you would make at home.
Butter helps food taste good; it helps it to not stick to a pan; and it makes cooking much easier.
When you do your own cooking, you can control the amount of butter that makes it to your dish, but this is much harder to control when you are eating out.
The prepared food culture has led to a tremendous increase in the need for butter, and therefore, we will all pay more for butter.
How to Save Money on Butter
Since it seems as though the price of butter is not going to go down anytime soon, it may help to have some ways to save a little money on butter.
One of the quickest ways to save money on butter is to buy it in bulk.
When you buy half- or quarter-sticks of butter, it uses quite a bit more packaging and, in turn, will probably be more expensive.
You will want to buy larger blocks of butter and purchase it in bulk.
The salted butter is also a little cheaper than the unsalted.
Another way to save money on butter is to make your own butter.
When you make your own butter, you can save quite a bit of money.
The process is not overly difficult, but it will require a good amount of your time.
If you happen to be short on time, purchase the butter and move on.
Another way to save money on butter is to purchase the generic brand of butter as opposed to the name brand.
You will usually find that their ingredients are going to be very similar, and that is important.
Check the packaging to make sure you are getting essentially the same product for considerably less money.
Another very simple way to save money on butter is to simply use less of it.
Look for recipes that require smaller amounts of butter.
These recipes will end up costing you quite a bit less, but they will be healthier for you as well.
Is Expensive Butter Worth It?
As we mentioned when we discussed how to save money on butter, generic brand butter can be a bit cheaper than expensive butter.
If you are making a special dish or you are just leery about switching to a generic brand, it can help to know if these types of butters are worth it.
There is a helpful tip to understand about butter.
According to the US Law, all butter has to have at least 80% butter fat.
It is important to make sure, if someone is advertising their product like butter, that it truly is butter.
Some of the very expensive butters are priced a bit higher, and they are closer to the 85 or 87% butterfat.
Using the higher butter fat butter is excellent for your cooking and food preparation, but it obviously is not quite as healthy either.
Depending on what type of dish you are preparing, choose a butter that will suit your needs and your budget as well.
You may find that you need less of the higher butter fat butter to achieve the same results when it comes to certain cooking and baking recipes.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding as to why butter is so expensive.
Unfortunately, there is not much any of us can do to help control butter pricing.
If you really want to get butter at a better value, you may need to start your own dairy farm.
In the meantime, the best strategy is to purchase the butter in bulk and freeze it for when you need it for recipes.
Holidays and baking recipes are the times when people need the most butter.
Stay away from purchasing butter during these times of the year, as the price will be higher.