No relief for cheese prices

Jan. 20, 2014 | by Alicia Kelso

Cheese prices continue to climb and are more than 30 cents higher than they were a month ago. Wheat prices, however, continue to fall, and gas prices are letting up as well.


Cheese prices have shown no signs of letting up, jumping 6 more cents last week on the Chicago Mercantile to average $2.21. The week prior, cheese averaged $2.15, and they were $1.89 in early December.

Last week, prices closed at $2.20 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, $2.22 on Thursday and $2.23 on Friday.


Conversely, wheat prices continued to fall last week on the Minneapolis Grain Exchange and are at their lowest level in years, averaging $6.18, from $6.27 the week prior.

Wheat was more than $7.50 two months ago.

Prices closed at $6.17 Monday, $6.21 Tuesday, $6.14 Wednesday, $6.24 Thursday and $6.17 on Friday.

Gasoline and diesel fuel

The nationwide average price for regular unleaded fuel today is $3.28, down from $3.31 the week prior. According to the AAA and the Oil Price Information Service, prices a month ago were $3.23.

Last year at this time, consumers were paying $3.30 at the pump.

Today's mid-range unleaded is $3.46, also down from $3.49 the week prior. Premium gas is $3.63, from $3.66 last week.

Diesel fuel prices are averaging $3.85, from $3.86 the week prior. The price of diesel fuel was $3.84 a month ago and $3.89 last year.

Natural gas

Natural gas spot prices increased in most of the country, with the exception of the Northeast, where prices decreased sharply from the week prior's weather-driven highs. The Henry Hub spot price increased from $4.35 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) Jan. 8, to $4.44/MMBtu Jan. 15.

At the New York Mercantile Exchange, the February 2014 contract rose from $4.216/MMBtu Jan. 8 to $4.325/MMBtu Jan. 15.

Pizza company stocks

Shares of Pizza Hut parent Yum! Brands Inc. closed out last week at $72.30, down from $75.05 the week prior. The company hit a new 52-week high in November, at $78.68. Its 52-week low was in early February 2013, at $59.68.

Following its Analyst Day, Domino's finished last week at $71.08, up from $70.28 the week prior. DPZ hit a new 52-week high last week at $71.97. Its 52-week low was $44.45 a year ago.

Papa John's shares finished last week at $47.39, up from $46.14 the week prior. PZZA hit a new 52-week high of $47.90 earlier last week. Its low of $24.94 was a year ago.

CEC Entertainment Inc., parent company of Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, closed out last week at $54.75 following official news of its sale to Apollo Global Management. The week prior, the company closed at $49.56. CEC hit a new 52-week-high last week at $55.03. Its annual low was a year ago at $28.95.

Pizza Inn Holdings closed out last week at $8.09, up from $7.98 the week prior. The company's 52-week-high was $9.18 in May. It traded as low as $3.03 a year ago.

Read more about food cost management.

Topics: Cheese , Chuck E. Cheese's Pizza , Equipment & Supplies , Food Cost Management , Operations Management , Papa John's , Pizza Hut , Pizza Inn

Alicia Kelso / Alicia has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with, and has been featured in publications around the world, including NPR, Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, and Franchise Asia magazine.
View Alicia Kelso's profile on LinkedIn

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