Eggnog Sticker Shock Awaits Americans

A recent poll found food prices overall putting the pinch on American spending plans for Christmas but grocers are bracing for the coming backlash for one of the priciest increases in holiday food costs: eggnog.

Common pricing in stores early in the holiday season show eggnog topping $6 in some markets for just a half gallon of the sweet stuff. Specialty nogs will be priced anywhere from $5 to $18 a quart.

It’s all about the herd. American dairy prices have been tied to the price and availability of feed for livestock, affected most severely by drought, fuel costs, and other market conditions. It has given rise not only to the cost of beef but also to all dairy products such as milk, butter and, now, eggnog.

“Eggnog is not the staple loss leader that milk is,” explains Bart Young, an industry analyst who write for dairy trade association publications. “Eggnog is a seasonal profit center and for the first time in decades this year will be one where prices may impact sales. It just may be out of reach for some people, we will see.”

An informal survey of shoppers in stores on Saturday, October 18, 2014 reveals some early attitudes.

“It’s out of my league this year,” claimed Monica Rhodes, a single mother of two from Colorado. A half gallon of Darigold Eggnog there was priced at $4.58 at a local Walmart. “It is too early for me to buy it but when they started packaging it with Halloween graphics a few years ago we would buy some. But I think I’ll just save it for Christmas Eve this year.”

One trend we will be watching will be the search for home made eggnog recipes. According to Merry Christmas Recipes.com searches there for eggnog recipes are already up 40 percent this year.

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