Saving Money by Making Your Own Yoghurt – Cost of Living Crisis Update

Back in May 2021 when I first published my Homemade Natural Yoghurt Recipe, I included an estimate of the cost of making your own yoghurt compared with buying ready-made yoghurt. Given the way both food and energy prices have risen this year, I wanted to revisit this to check whether I was still saving money by making our own yoghurts.

How things were

This was the table I published in 2021 summarising how much it cost us to make plain yoghurt and how that compared to buying supermarket plain yoghurt.

HomemadeQty of Yoghurt
1 Litre UHT Whole Milk£0.71
150g Organic Plain Yoghurt£0.55
Electricity (approx.)£0.11
Total£1.37c1000g13.7p per 100g
Supermarket Own-brand Plain Yoghurt£0.95500g19p per 100g

The electricity cost here is estimated based on an efficient 600W yoghurt maker and a fermentation time of 11hours. The machine isn’t working at full power or continuously when in yoghurt mode – like fridges, freezers, etc, a yoghurt machine cycles on and off to keep a desired temperature.

Making yoghurts with biscoff spread

How things have changed

Since then, there have been several changes to take into account:

  • Energy prices have risen considerably.
  • Milk prices have risen considerably.
  • The supermarket has introduced a cheaper range of UHT milk. To my mind this milk is not as good (it feels much thinner, I don’t think it sets as well), but we have switched to keep costs down. In recent weeks, this ‘value’ range of UHT milk has risen in price so that it is now more expensive than the standard range used to be.
  • Somewhat surprisingly, the supermarket is now selling 1kg tubs of plain yoghurt which are cheaper per 100g than the 500g tubs I previously used for comparison.

I am also finding it is now much more common for the supermarket to be out of stock of UHT whole milk. This means I have to manage my stocks more carefully, and resort to semi-skimmed more often, sometimes swapping to making drinking yoghurts rather than eating yoghurts to make this less noticeable.

Homemade Yoghurt Cost Calculations

Using the same products as in 2021, the table would now looks like this:

Homemade – Using Preferred OptionsQty of Yoghurt
1 Litre UHT Whole Milk (supermarket’s standard range)£0.96*
150g Organic Plain Yoghurt£0.70
Electricity (approx.)£0.15
Total£1.81c1000g18.1p per 100g
Supermarket Own-brand Plain Yoghurt£1.701000g17p per 100g

*You have to buy 6 litres to get this price.

This shows that the cost of the same ingredients + energy for making a kg of yoghurt has risen from £1.37 to £1.81 which is a 32% rise!

Also, as you can see, with ingredients above, we would not be saving any money compared to buying supermarket plain yoghurt. This is due both to the increase in cost in all the ingredients and energy, but also because the supermarket plain yoghurt in now cheaper.

So to ensure we are still saving money, we need to take advantage of the cheaper plain yoghurt as the starter, and the cheaper line of UHT milk. I’d love still be buying the organic starter yoghurt, but that is one thing that has had to ‘give’ as we look for places to save.

By making these changes, we can reduce the overall cost quite a bit, and actually offset the increase in the energy cost. In the scenario below, I use part of a 1kg tub of supermarket yoghurt as a starter, and the rest of that tub is eaten as is, adding to the total quantity of yoghurt to eat.

Homemade – Cheaper OptionsQty of Yoghurt
1 Litre UHT Whole Milk (supermarket’s ‘value’ range)£0.75
1kg Plain Yoghurt (150g used as starter, the rest eaten)£1.70
Electricity (approx.)£0.15
Total£2.60c1850g14.1p per 100g
Supermarket Own-brand Plain Yoghurt£1.701000g17p per 100g

So it is definitely still worthwhile making our own yoghurts.

Our electricity prices will be rising further next month, increasing the cost to as much as 28p of electricity for the above batch of yoghurts and a resulting cost of 14.8p per 100g of yoghurt.

It’s also worth noting that those on a low income also suffer from not being able to take advantage of bulk buying discounts. To get the UHT milk we used to buy at 71p at 96p, I would have to buy 6 litres at once. £5.75 is a significant proportion of my weekly grocery budget, so in reality I can only buy 2-3 litres a week, which therefore cost me £1.10 per litre instead of 96p. This means using the cheaper milk at 75p per litre is the only way forward.

Note that, as before, these calculations are based having bought a starter yoghurt. The savings increase each time you use one of your own yoghurts from the previous ’round’ as your starter.

Tips for saving energy while using your yoghurt-maker

  • Like any appliance, if your yoghurt-maker has a ‘stand-by’ mode, make sure you switch it off at the wall when you are not actually fermenting yoghurts, as it will be using energy even in ‘stand-by’ mode.
  • If possible, use your yoghurt maker in a warm corner of the kitchen away from drafts – if the yoghurt-maker is in a cold spot, it will use more energy getting to and keeping its fermentation temperature.
  • Try to fill your yoghurt-maker to capacity each time you use it, rather than making small batches.
  • If your yoghurt-maker has a manual thermostat, set it to the minimum recommended temperature.
  • Don’t chill your UHT milk before use and use other ingredients at room temperature where possible (sugar, syrups, etc)

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