Cheese costs hitting more than your wallet - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Cheese costs hitting more than your wallet

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July 3, 2007

Albany - - Get ready to pay a pretty penny for cheese. The average price for cheese is up 78 percent from this time last year. That's really putting the pinch on pizza places. 

You're not the only one paying more for some extra cheddar.

"It affects us a lot," says Charlie Magaddino of Picnic Pizza.

Pizza stores all over the country are feeling the pinch.

"The cheese is the most costly thing on a pizza."

Picnic Pizza in Albany is no exception.

"We spend probably a good $600 just on cheese every two weeks."

And they're bracing for the possibility they'll have to pay more. Already, company-owned Pizza Huts and company-owned Papa John's International Inc. restaurants have raised the prices of their cheese-only pizzas to the same amount as a one topping pizza.

In Albany, the franchise Papa John's store hasn't taken that route yet. But at Albany Pizza Huts, be prepared to pay $17 for a large pizza, whether you want pepperoni or just cheese.

"Everybody thinks we should give pizza away for free but it costs us, its more labor intense for us to do it by hand also. You've got to think about that."

Picnic Pizza managers say they don't want to raise prices. To stay competitive, they say a cheese only pizza will remain $2 less than a pizza with a topping.

"Even if you put a little bit on there, people want more. America loves cheese. So you have to give them more."

As they feel the pinch to keep on supplying it.

"You just got to deal with the prices," he says.

Experts say the price surge has to do with the strong demand for cheese, higher transportation costs, and increased production costs due to the higher cost of milk.

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