Late this past summer, you may have noticed the price of your favorite protein products increased - in some cases significantly. Unfortunately, manufacturers and retailers of protein supplements are caught up in a worst-case scenario in which greatly elevated production costs and decreased profit margins are wreaking havoc on the protein market. The reasons are many and somewhat complex, but here are some of the contributing factors.

Part of the price increase can be attributed to our nation's increasing demand for alternative energy sources. More corn, which was previously an inexpensive feed source for cattle, is beginning to be devoted to ethanol production, which has driven demand up dramatically. Consequently, it costs more to feed farm animals, and this cost is being passed on to the consumer for dairy end-products (milk, cheese, etc). Because the raw materials to make whey and casein protein come from cows, they also markedly increased in price.

Further compounding costs are droughts - both here and abroad. These droughts are responsible for poor crop growth and less production of corn and hay, which is also a feed source for animals. Consumers in Australia experienced considerable price increases at the grocery store, and growing demand in Asia for dairy products further contributes to the shortage here.

In addition to the weather not cooperating and increased alternative energy production, there is yet another factor driving up dairy prices - demand from newly prosperous countries in Asia, like China and India, and also in the Middle East. As recently as just a few years ago, dairy farmers deliberately focused on other more profitable products because there was more than adequate supply of dairy to satisfy demand. Abrupt changes in the market and unfavorable weather conditions changed all that literally overnight. Now almost anything that is related to cows and corn (dairy - including whey and casein, meat, eggs, poultry, animal feeds, leather jackets and shoes, etc.) is becoming more expensive.

Is there an end in sight where we can look forward to the prices of our favorite protein products decreasing? Not in the short term, and the long term will be determined by weather and demand - both of which are very unpredictable. But we are fortunate to live in a nation where consumer demand generates greater buying power and lower prices for customers than elsewhere in the world. Whey is a superior source of protein because of its easy digestibility, amino acid profile and abundant immune-supporting microfractions. And when it comes to the most health benefit for your dollar, whey remains unrivaled.

Sources:
Australia's Woolworths Warns Drought Will Lead To Price Rises
Food prices spike on demand, energy costs
Drought, demand for ethanol responsible for high hay prices
Global Dairy Demand Drives Up Prices