Cheese Prices

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In recent weeks, a pound of mozzarella has jumped by more than a dollar and it's cutting into the profits of many local pizzerias.

"The distributors kind of warned us but we didn't think it was going to last this long or reach this high," said Pino's on Main co-owner, Cathy Marino.

It might not seem like a lot of "moolah", but when you're using up 50-pound cases of mozzarella it starts to pile up.

"It could still go higher, we don't know. We're just coping with it and we haven't raised our prices," said Marino.

Experts say demand for cheese is up, but dairy farmers are producing less milk, cutting back their herds after years of record low milk prices.

"Milk production is down primarily because of this period of extended low prices last year where many dairy farmer went out of business. There's not as many cows producing milk," said Dennis Tonak of the Midwest Dairymen's Council.

Pizza stores could save some dough by cutting back on the amount of cheese or toppings, but many pizzerias like Pino's say they can't sacrifice quality.

"We're still putting on the same quality cheese, the same amount of cheese. We're just kind of waiting, hoping that it goes back down," said Marino of Pino's on Main.

If cheese prices climb much higher, pizza lovers could end up eating the cost, but stiff competition is forcing many pizzerias to close the door on that possibility.