The Cheddar block price at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange as of Wednesday, March 11, 2015, stood at $1.5700, up 2.5 cents from the end of February but down 75 cents from a year ago. Since the beginning of February, the block price has fallen in a very narrow range of $1.53 to $1.57 per pound. The block price had “bottomed out” in January at $1.47 a pound.
The Cheddar block price averaged about $1.52 a pound in January and just under $1.54 a pound in February. By contrast, a year ago, the Cheddar block price averaged around $2.22 a pound in January and almost $2.20 a pound in February. Indeed, in 2014, the Cheddar block price averaged above $2.00 a pound in each of the first six months of the year, including a record high average of almost $2.36 a pound in March, and averaged about $2.11 a pound for the entire year.
Mozzarella is priced above the Cheddar block price, by varying amounts, and tracks Cheddar block price movements closely.
In its monthly supply-demand estimates released Tuesday, Mar. 10, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) once again projected that cheese prices in 2015 will average more than 50 cents per pound lower than they averaged last year. Thus, pizza makers can expect considerably lower prices this year, compared to last year’s record-high prices. However, it’s worth remembering that we’re only in the third month of 2015, and that many factors, on both the domestic and international markets, could send cheese prices much higher than currently expected. Volatility and unpredictability have been the rule, not the exception, when it comes to cheese prices in recent years.
Pizza makers who are interested in following the daily ups and downs of cheese prices, as well as reviewing past prices, can visit www.cheeseporter.com.
Stay in touch with PMQ.com for the latest information on cheese prices.
Dick Groves has been covering the cheese and dairy industries for the Cheese Reporter since 1978. He has been the newspaper’s editor since 1985 and publisher/editor since 1989.