Bad news for thrifty pizza lovers: the price of cheese is creeping upwards and sooner or later is likely to hit pizza's bottom line.
Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that since the beginning of December, cheese prices have risen approximately 16 percent for mozzarella and 25 percent for cheddar. Dairy farmers worldwide had a pretty bad year in 2013, what with poor weather and high feed costs. The milk producers' higher costs led to the higher cheese prices, which have not resulted in noticeable price increases at various pizza chains—at least, not yet.
But Bloomberg pointed out that last month, at an investors' meeting for Domino's Pizza, Domino's chief financial officer said “In the last couple of days, I’ve had a lot of questions about cheese because it spiked up, and cheese is the biggest commodity. Even taking that into account when you look at the whole basket, and you look at the projections on cheese for the year, we are still projecting that we would be down in the range of 0 percent to 2 percent.”
If cheese prices continue rising, there's a definite limit to how long pizza makers and sellers would absorb those costs without passing them along to consumers in the form of higher prices.
So what's a consumer to do? Some types of food-price rises can be dealt with by stockpiling — if this year's peanut crop is bad, it's a good idea to buy a couple extra jars of your favorite peanut butter before the price goes up.
Laying in a twelve-month supply of peanut butter to tide you over until next year's (hopefully better) crop comes in is easy; however, unless you have industrial-grade deep-freeze storage facilities, you can't stockpile a year's worth of mozzarella without it soon turning into a moldy inedible mess.
So maybe the best advice is to get familiar with pasta.