That's Jiminy, kind sir. Mr. Cricket, to you.
I finally got the info I need to engage a little more in this discussion. Turns out that around these parts, we pay about $6.04/gallon for good local organic milk, and about $7.16/gallon for decent organic soy. That breaks down to about $.06/oz soy, vs. $.05/oz cow. Management, being of gracious mind and not wanting to wedge any parsimonious upcharge between us and the customers (like, say, an airline charging for checked baggage), finds other areas to save. We keep our menu simple, prices low, and customers happy. We are a pie shop/bakery, though, soon to be expanding our menu, so we have a lot of other variables and options to cover the difference. We don't charge more for the option of a spoonful of fresh organic hand-whipped cream on your slice of pie. We don't upcharge for use of the half-n-half pitcher on the condiment bar, even though it's $9.84/gallon. We charge a flat $1.75 for a dose of any tea, regardless of differences in cost per ounce to us -- really good green, black, and flowery herbal nettle or whatever stuff alike. Some things are more profitable than others, and that's where we make up for things that are far less profitable, like soy drinks. Another example of this balance is with the pies -- banana cream costs a lot to make; lots of pricey organic ingredients and time/labor/refrigeration involved. Plum frangipane tart, however, is much cheaper and easier. We charge the same per pie and per slice; they even each other out, our menu stays simple, we still make money, and so far it's worked out. In the end, the profits made on milk drinks of any sort, overall, result in us not losing money either way. We could make more with an upcharge, sure, but passing a thing like that onto the customers just doesn't jibe with the way our managers enjoy doing business.
(As for us soy-nuts being "used to paying more at the grocery store"... I checked my local worker-owned collective/co-op grocery shelves. Half gallon of Clover organic cow was actually $.10 more than a half gallon of Wildwood organic soy. Tell ya the truth, I was pretty surprised about that, myself. And it ain't no conspiracy -- by all accounts the dairy workers at this store tend to resent us vegan-types.)
Of course, at our cafe we do a lot of stuff differently, and our volume is relatively small, so we may not be the best example in the end. We're even thinking of lowering the cost of coffee "for here", to reflect the cost of paper cups and sleeves to go. No upcharge -- a downcharge, in fact, to clue people in to the waste we're (they're) generating.
Anyway... after a good chat with my boss about it, it seems she takes it upon herself to make soy work without an upcharge, partially out of her philosophy, but also because the cost differential isn't as staggering as people are citing above. (Which is pretty crazy -- soy being 4 or 5 times the cost of cow?? That's insane. That's gotta be one cheap-n-dirty cow.)
Consider that most shops are not using organic milk and their base prices are for a gallon of milk that costs about $3.50 (whole). I think it is great that your shop uses organic milk. we have considered adding organic milk to our menu here, but with the same upcharge as soy.
Yeah. . . maybe it's just proximity to dairy farms and a killer distribution system. . . my organic milk is less than $3.00 a gallon.
It's by the gallon for us.
It's very unlikely that you're paying any where near $6/gal for organic from a commercial dairy distributor. Unless you guys are just going to the store for your milk. And if you are, stop it. We have a great dairy co-op/distributor here called Sunshine Dairy. They get us all of our dairy products and they deliver pacific soy and rice milk as well. We don't get our soy and rice milk from them, though. It's even more expensive. We use them where I work now, as well as the cafe I used to manage in Hood River.
soysucker said:really??? You definitely don't mean less than $3 per carton (1/2gal)? Maybe I got my numbers all wrong... they were scrawled out for me on a piece of scrap paper: "milk, 3.02", etc -- which she said was per container, which I took to mean per 1/2gal carton, which would mean 6.04/gal... Can it be we pay more than twice as much as you for org cow?