The Surprising Connection Between Lumber And Processed Cheese Prices

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown a lot of things completely out of whack. Besides our overall well-being, the virus has massively affected the housing market, food industry (we're looking at you chicken wings), manufacturing and, yes, building. 

It turns out, lumber prices have hit record highs this year (via NPR) as the housing market has exploded. Additionally, DIYers with a bit more time on their hands with a shift in workplace culture have also decided to give their homes a little much-needed TLC. Prices, NPR notes, rose from $349 per thousand board feet in April 2020 to $1,514 in May 2021. However, they have since dropped 65%, says Markets Insider. But with people now being able to work remotely, new homes are being built and renovations are being done which will continue to drive this price forward. 

While you may think that this has nothing to do with the food industry, that's simply not the case. Lumber is used in the shipping and transport of goods and can drive the prices of the things you love the most in either direction. 

So what exactly does that have to do with cheese?

But, unless you're renovating your house, we actually have some good news for you. It turns out that the prices of lumber have actually lead to a plummet in the prices of cheese. But how could this be? 

It turns out, all of those fresh cheeses you know and love (we're talking about you, Brie) are boxed up and shipped in wooden crates. Now, with the cost of lumber so high, those in the cheese industry have looked for ways to get around shipping that way. And, it turns out that processed equals profit. That's right. The Takeout notes that as cheesemakers have shied away from barrels, they have shifted to making processed cheese. These types of cheese can be shipped in cardboard lined with plastic bags instead of those wooden crates the lumber produces. 

There is a bright side, though: Now that there is an abundance of cheese on the shelf at a 15-month price low, we say it's time to practice our cheese board art. We're coming for you, Cheese by Numbers (via Instagram).