Land O' Lakes Butter Price Jump

Decorating By DebbyJG Updated 11 Jan 2011 , 7:01pm by DebbyJG

DebbyJG Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 12:26am
post #1 of 16

AUUUGGHHH!!!! The price of my butter just went up by $1.50 per pound!!!

SO I make real buttercreme. No Crisco creme here -- and it's a big part of what I advertise for my business, so BUTTER creme is what I do no matter what.

I've been buying my Land o' Lakes butter at the one remaining grocery store in town with a good price on it, and when I spot sales, I've stocked up my freezer. The last time, I got enough to last a couple months, so I hadn't had to buy it for awhile.
Until today.
I have three orders for this weekend so I had to go get more unsalted Land o' Lakes (which, if you are a buttercreme person, you know is SOO much better in taste and workablilty than any store brand).
The price per pound jumped $1.50 since last month! And that was already after another price incease then!

I know the easiest answer is "time to raise my prices", but I've already gotten the "HOW much is it??? For a CAKE???" statements. It's hard enough that I'm trying to compete with box cake and Crisco creme frosting makers. Nothing against that if that's how you like to bake, but it costs a lot more to make scratch cakes and buttercreme, but the general public (at least around here- maybe in trendy areas it would be different) don't GET that. They read on my website that I use all natural ingredients, but many don't get that it translates into a higher price in my raw costs. They just know they can get a cake for $20 at WalMart or from the lady down the street who decorates cakes out of HER home too (like I do) but she charges the Wal Mart price too.

So now I'm left with -- raise my prices, or go out of business. But knowing the reaction to my price even before this, I have a feeling "raising prices" will ALSO mean "go out of business". I just can't compete. I'm already just barely breaking even on every order -- after ingredient costs, oven energy, and such -- but now I'm not sure I will even be breaking even. I love cake decorating, but not enough to be doing every cake as a donation from my own bank account.

Thanks for listening to my rant. I just feel close to tears tonight. Is there a good place to buy Land o Lakes or another good quality brand in bulk for bulk pricing? None of the restuarant supply places around here carry Land o Lakes, or if they do, they don't cater to home businesses. Sigh..

15 replies
cakesbycathy Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 12:37am
post #2 of 16

I know you love Land o' lakes but you should probably consider switching to another brand of butter. While there may be some difference in your frosting, you need to weigh whether being so brand loyal is worth it if it's going to cost you business.

I use the Aldi's brand of butter (and all their groceries). Honestly, there is NO or very little difference in their generic label products compared to the brand names. And it saves me a ton.

jason_kraft Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 12:40am
post #3 of 16

Are other brands really that bad? We don't even use butter in our BC, it is a dairy-free recipe using soy-based margarine, and in head-to-head tests people have preferred it to traditional buttercream.

You really only have a few options: experiment with other ingredients, raise prices, or absorb the increased cost of ingredients (which shouldn't be a big percentage of your overall costs anyway).

Occther Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 12:55am
post #4 of 16

I agree with Cathy. Although I love Land o'Lakes butter, I use the less expensive brand. I picked up some unsalted butter at Aldi's this weekend. Or I buy it at Sam's club. Although you advertise all natural ingredients, I do have agree that a lot of people really don't know the difference.

Price Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 1:03am
post #5 of 16

I know what you mean about the price of butter. Around the holidays I could find Land O Lakes around here for about $2.50 a lb. Now that the holidays are over it's running close to $4.00 per lb. Everything has gone up, milk, sugar, eggs.

I bake both box and scratch. When I use a box mix I add sour cream, extra eggs, pudding, vanilla and almond extracts. Adding the extra ingredients makes my "mix" cakes more expensive than some of my scratch recipes. I also use high ratio shortening. I can't buy wholesale and have to have it shipped, so it is definitely no cheaper than the butter.

DebBTX Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 1:17am
post #6 of 16

I love Land O Lakes as well. Would you consider using the butter from Sam's Club?

-Debbie B.

SecretAgentCakeBaker Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 1:35am
post #7 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DebbyJG



I know the easiest answer is "time to raise my prices", but I've already gotten the "HOW much is it??? For a CAKE???" statements. It's hard enough that I'm trying to compete with box cake and Crisco creme frosting makers. Nothing against that if that's how you like to bake, but it costs a lot more to make scratch cakes and buttercreme, but the general public (at least around here- maybe in trendy areas it would be different) don't GET that. They read on my website that I use all natural ingredients, but many don't get that it translates into a higher price in my raw costs. They just know they can get a cake for $20 at WalMart or from the lady down the street who decorates cakes out of HER home too (like I do) but she charges the Wal Mart price too.




I'm sorry to hear you are frustrated. I think you have other options though. It sounds like the customers in your area don't really care if you are using butter at all, if they are comparing with Walmart cakes. Perhaps it is time to defying your no-shortening policy. Maybe you offer two kinds of frosting, priced accordingly. If they don't care about real butter buttercream, or don't want to pay the price for it, they will order the other kind. If they want it and have the money, they will order the butter.

Also, as others have already said, maybe you will have to find a different kind of butter to use if you don't want to raise your prices. Sometimes raising prices, though, will get you a different kind of customer, so it may not be a bad thing if that's the way you want to go. Or, use half Land o Lakes and half of another kind. Experiment and see what works.

Oh, here's a thought. If you don't need to have the quarter pound butter sticks and don't mind dealing with a big one pound brick, you might be able to ask the store manager to order a case of those for you when you need them. They might do that if you are offering to buy a case at a time, or whatever is the smallest amount they have to order. I think the bricks cost less per pound because they don't have to use as much paper.

Good luck!

Sorelle Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 1:52am
post #8 of 16

Everything is going up and will continue to do so, I've stocked up on sugar, butter, cake mixes, all my baking stuff. Fuel prices are going up too, which for me means an increase in delivery charges. I don't see another alternative. I think people will expect increases as inflation continues. Any good ideas on saving $ would be a great thread to start.

LindaF144a Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 5:32am
post #9 of 16

I have to agree with the OP that LOL is thte only one I use for my SMBC. I did try the store brand. The next day the frosting had a waxy sheen and had darkened on color. The SMBC made with the LOL didn't.

Now I use LOL, or make my own butter. But I will use the store brand to bake my cakes. But one uses way more butter in BC than a cake recipe, and that is the dilemma.

DebbyJG Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 5:44am
post #10 of 16

Yeah, I've tried using Aldi's, Giant Eagle, other store brands...they all are more yellow, "turn" quicker, and I've found the buttercreme isn't as smooth, either. I just end up fighting with my buttercreme to get smooth too much whenever I've not used Land O Lakes. Let alone the taste is just much finer with Land o Lakes. I found this out just trial and error on my own, but recently came across an America's Test Kitchen study, and they came up with the same findings -- Land O Lakes was the best grocery store, non-imported brand.

As far as going with shortening, I just won't do it. My whole family went no-hydrogenated oil several years ago (and making that ONE diet change, not even exercising more than normal, I dropped 30 pounds within that first year). Now that all Crisco/hydrogenated oil has been removed from our diet, we've gotten really sensitive to it (my daughter gets sick to her stomach when she accidentally eats something with it in it), and I cannot STAND the slimy-ness of it now in buttercreme.
That's not the part that customers can't tell the difference on -- once they taste my real buttercreme, I hear back from EVERY single customer that they'll never go back to Crisco frosting. The issue is that in my area, people still don't want to pay a premium price even if they know they are getting premium ingredients. Even if they see the prices at the grocery store go up in their own bills, when it comes to a cake, they can't believe it costs me that much.
And therein lies my frustration.

I'm going to look into that idea of buying in bulk rate. At least it wouldn't hurt to ask! icon_smile.gif

Lelka Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 6:08am
post #11 of 16

I bought 40lb of Land of o lakes when it was on sale before Christmas, because I read here on this board that butter will go up as soon as the season is over. Thanks to whoever said that, and made me jump when I saw $1.75lb. But I'd say that next to LooL butter is Costco brand.... Pretty white, with nice smooth texture. When milk's price is going up, the butter is first to follow....

playingwithsugar Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 6:26am
post #12 of 16

I have no problem with the flavor or color of the store brand butter sold at BJ's Wholesale.

Also, if you have a Zilka & Co or a Gordon Food Service near you, You can buy butter in bulk, and they sell to the general public. Zilka is a bakery/pastry supply.

Theresa icon_smile.gif

sunset74 Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 7:18am
post #13 of 16

I have bought the Sam's butter and found that it is good quality. But I was shocked when I went to the grocery store the other night and the Land o Lakes was now 5 dollars a pound. I buy the store brand and at 2 dollars a pound it was definatly a lot cheaper.

buttercuppie Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 7:44am
post #14 of 16

Try going to a warehouse club...I go to Costco where butter is about 1/2 of what they charge in the grocery store (yeah you have to buy 4lb but seriously...I can easily go through 10lb per day!)

I feel your pain though...Pecans just went up by an extra $2.50 per pound!

LindaF144a Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 3:19pm
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by DebbyJG

Yeah, I've tried using Aldi's, Giant Eagle, other store brands...they all are more yellow, "turn" quicker, and I've found the buttercreme isn't as smooth, either. I just end up fighting with my buttercreme to get smooth too much whenever I've not used Land O Lakes. Let alone the taste is just much finer with Land o Lakes. I found this out just trial and error on my own, but recently came across an America's Test Kitchen study, and they came up with the same findings -- Land O Lakes was the best grocery store, non-imported brand.

As far as going with shortening, I just won't do it. My whole family went no-hydrogenated oil several years ago (and making that ONE diet change, not even exercising more than normal, I dropped 30 pounds within that first year). Now that all Crisco/hydrogenated oil has been removed from our diet, we've gotten really sensitive to it (my daughter gets sick to her stomach when she accidentally eats something with it in it), and I cannot STAND the slimy-ness of it now in buttercreme.
That's not the part that customers can't tell the difference on -- once they taste my real buttercreme, I hear back from EVERY single customer that they'll never go back to Crisco frosting. The issue is that in my area, people still don't want to pay a premium price even if they know they are getting premium ingredients. Even if they see the prices at the grocery store go up in their own bills, when it comes to a cake, they can't believe it costs me that much.
And therein lies my frustration.

I'm going to look into that idea of buying in bulk rate. At least it wouldn't hurt to ask! icon_smile.gif




I have used Spectrum shortening in some instances for my baking. It is completed nonhydrogenated and vegan too. I used it recently for a cookie icing recipe I got from my MIL. I needed a totally white icing and it is not SMBC based, so it would not have worked with butter. Plus there is like a teaspoon of the frosting on the cookie. That is a major difference over a cake.

I am going transfat free also. I too can tell when I have had it and what it does to my digestive system. I simply will not eat a dessert not made by me. My MIL told me she uses shortening in her cookies over butter. She brought a plate of cookies to the last family get together. After she left, my DH threw out the remaining cookies. He ate one to appease her, but now that he knows they are made with shortening and not butter he won't eat them either. He also said mine tasted better, but we will keep that secret from MIL. thumbs_up.gif

DebbyJG Posted 11 Jan 2011 , 7:01pm
post #16 of 16

Yep, I use Spectrum for the rare times I need shortening -- like to soften up my fondant or make my fondant mat more non-stick. icon_smile.gif
And that's about it. I've made a stiff "butter"creme once using Spectrum when I needed to make really stiff roses, but it just tastes like sugar and slime to me, so it's really rare for me to break it open in any other use than fondant.

I haven't tried Costco brand. Maybe I'll give it a trial run.

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