I spotted an advertised price for a gallon of milk in a Walgreens ad–only it wasn’t a dollar figure. It read “state minimum pricing,” or something to that effect. What? Turns out, the dairy industry is regulated by the Pennsylvania Milk Marketing Board. On their web site, their mission statement reads:
To ensure that Pennsylvania’s dairy industry remains vital, the Milk Marketing Board provides a regulatory environment that facilitates a safe, adequate supply of wholesome milk by providing security for its dairy farmers and milk dealers; while providing an adequate supply of dairy products for consumers.
The federal government regulates the dairy industry, too. [Whoops, when I was researching this earlier, I thought that I found that the federal government regulates a portion of the dairy industry, as well. I can’t find data to support that now. Thanks, Heather, for alerting me of my mistake.]
As dairy farmers’ expenses go up, including paying high fuel costs (just like everyone else), their profit margin becomes much more narrow. Makes sense. I certainly don’t want the dairy farmers to go out of business. I like milk, ya know?
Now that I know there’s a minimum price, I know the lowest cost I can pay. I will not pay more than that. Here’s a link to a complicated chart about this month’s minimum milk prices in Pennsylvania. I live in “Area 5,” as they like to call it in regulated-dairyland.
What this means for me:
In October, the lowest retail price for one gallon of 1% milk is $3.61. That’s what I paid last month (the lowest retail price for that was the same) so it’s good to know I didn’t overpay.
Curious about the price for this time last year? The same milk minimum in this zone was $2.84. Big difference!
I dislike how fat-free milk tastes. Blech! I need more fat than that. One gallon of fat-free milk can sell for $3.53. If I want to save $0.08, I guess I could buy skim milk for cooking.
I’m a fan of using powdered milk when I can. But, I haven’t been able to find it very cheap in Pittsburgh. The lowest unit price I have been able to find was $19.99 for a box making 20 quarts, or about $1/quart. As four quarts=one gallon, 20 quarts makes five gallons. At that price, I’d be paying $4/gallon for powdered milk. No thanks!
It pays to do unit comparison pricing like this. Now, I know that for powdered milk to be the better deal, I’ll need to find it at less than $0.90/quart. Know of any place that sells it for that price? How much do you pay?