Margarine prices rise nearly 44% from last year, butter jumps over 30%

Last week KTVU reported on the price of eggs skyrocketing in some stores and now economists say margarine and butter prices are soaring too. Since this time last year, data shows the price of margarine has gone up nearly 44%. 

The price of pretty much everything has gone up over the last year or two, but food staples like eggs and butter, nearly doubling in price, is causing some people to make adjustments to the way they shop.   

"I use a specific brand, and maybe I’ll go for a cheaper one. I don’t know," said Veronica, a woman shopping in Zanotto's Willow Glen market who says she likes to bake.  

After egg prices jumped a whopping 60%, the latest Consumer Price Index report says the price of margarine jumped 43.8% and butter shot up 31.4% from a year ago.  

"It’s very expensive, and it keeps going up. (Why do you think that is?) Because I bought some last week, and it was like $6 something," said Jan Hurd of San Jose.    

At Zanotto’s Market in Willow Glen, the Clover Butter Jan Hurd bought last week was just over $6, and now it’s $7.49. So what’s causing the jump in the price? The National Milk Producers Federation says milk was being used to produce more cheese than butter last year as butter consumption lagged behind significantly in the U.S.  

"We have a lot of things going right in America, and we’ve got a ton of things kind of going wrong. But I can’t imagine people are enjoying cookies with butter going up that much," said shopper Brad Mountz. 

The Federation also says dairy farmers trimmed their cow herds during the pandemic but are now looking to build up their herds again to meet demand. Margarine producers are blaming the war in Ukraine for disrupting production of vegetable and soy bean oils, which are used to make margarine. 

KTVU asked Zanotto's shopper Al Green what he's doing to save on food.

"Just buying bulk food, less fast food, just healthier stuff," Green said.   

Rising food costs overall have impacted most Americans even as inflation appears to be coming down. But even with the rising costs, this shopper says there are some items, like the butter she uses, that she simply won’t cut back on.  

"The eggs are going, the milk is going up, everything is going up, but I’m not going to give up Clover," Hurd said.   

National Milk Producers say farmers have increased milk production, but it’ll be a few months before butter prices go back to their normal levels.