A major theme touched upon often throughout the show floor of the North American Pizza and Ice Cream Show Sunday and today in Columbus, Ohio, was the high cost of cheese.
Pizza operator and consultant, Bruno DiFabio, said cheese prices right now are at or near an all-time high.
Cheese price averages continued to climb last week on the Chicago Mercantile, averaging $2.32, from $2.27 two weeks prior.
Prices were $1.89 in early December.
Last week, prices closed at $2.36 Monday and Tuesday, $2.32 Wednesday, $2.33 Thursday and $2.23 on Friday.
After months of sliding, wheat prices inched back up last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange, averaging $6.27, from $6.02 the week prior.
Wheat was more than $7.50 in November.
Last week, prices closed at $6.10 Monday, $6.23 Tuesday, $6.29 Wednesday, $6.38 Thursday and $6.39 on Friday.
Gasoline and diesel fuel
The nationwide average price for regular unleaded fuel today is $3.29, up slightly from $3.27 the week prior. According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.31.
Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.58 at the pump.
Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.47, up a penny from $3.46 the week prior. Premium gas is $3.64, also up a penny from $3.63 last week.
Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.93, up from $3.90 the week prior. The price of diesel fuel was $3.87 a month ago, and $4.03 a year ago.
Natural gas spot prices increased across most of the country, particularly in the Northeast, as another winter storm rolled across the Midwest and into the Northeast. The Henry Hub spot price increased from $5.20 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) Jan. 29, to $7.90/MMBtu Feb. 5.
At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the March 2014 futures contract declined from $5.465/MMBtu Jan. 29 to $5.030/MMBtu Feb. 5. The near-month futures price is currently above the 12-month strip (the average of the March 2014 through February 2015 contracts), which settled at $4.614 Feb. 5.
Pizza company stocks
Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed out last week at $71.73, a jump from $66.60 the week prior. The company hit a new 52-week high in November, at $78.68. Its 52-week low was a year ago at $63.16.
Domino's finished last week at $69.50, down slightly from $69.57 the week prior. DPZ hit a new 52-week high in January at $73.41. Its 52-week low was $44.45 a year ago.
Papa John's shares finished last week at $47.36, down from $48.16 the week prior. PZZA hit a new all-time high of $49.33 in January. Its low of $24.94 was a year ago.
CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $53.96, down a penny from the week prior. CEC hit a new 52-week-high in January at $55.14. Its annual low was a year ago at $28.95.
Pizza Inn Holdings closed out last week at $6.26, down from $6.39 the week prior.
The company's 52-week-high was $9.18 in May. It traded as low as $3.03 a year ago.
Photo provided by Pixabay.
Read more about food cost management.
Alicia Kelso has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.