There Might Be a Butter Shortage Soon—Here’s Why

Time to stock up on substitutes.

The year 2022 might be winding down to an end, but the food shortages, unfortunately, just keep coming. After news of a possible tomato shortage earlier this year, we’re now hearing that another kitchen staple might be up next.

Butter seems set to be next on the list of shortages—and right before the holiday season! Here’s why you might not be seeing as much of this baking necessity on the shelves.

Why Is There a Butter Shortage?

Much like other industries, the dairy industry has also been affected by labor shortages lately. According to the Wall Street Journal, dairy production is down, and this has led to the lowest supply of butter since 2017. The New York Post attributes this to the rising costs of feed, energy and dairy animals.

The shortage is already being seen in price spikes—the price of butter was up 24.6% year over year in August. According to a US Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, butter demand is outpacing supply in the Midwest, while tight inventories are having trouble meeting rising retail demand in the Northeast. With supply still affected and the holiday season coming up, it doesn’t look like the prices will be dropping anytime soon.

Is Anything Being Done to Fix It?

The dairy industry is adapting to the increased demand as quickly as it can by increasing production and getting butter out to the market as soon as possible. Joe Coote, chief executive of Darigold Inc., told the Wall Street Journal, “We want to run the assets we have harder when we can get more milk off-farm.”

However, supplies of milk and cream remain low, and milk producers are warning retailers to refrain from having sales. Hopefully, we’ll be seeing an increased supply and reduced prices sooner rather than later.

What Can We Do?

With holiday baking coming up, it’s best to freeze butter if you have some extra on hand. Stock up on butter substitutes to make sure there are no disruptions when it comes to Thanksgiving pies or Christmas desserts!

Amrita Thakkar
Amrita is an Assistant Digital Editor at Taste of Home. As a writer and amateur photographer, she often ends up applying these skills to her one great love: food. She can usually be found researching global cuisines, at the farmers market, doing yoga, or looking up new places to travel to.