Stock Up on this Staple Before Prices Rise

October 15, 2011

I have some alarming news about an item always present in my Chicago real estate:

The price of peanut butter is going up.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is estimating that this year’s peanut crop will be at least 13 percent smaller than last year’s, which means a hike in the price of peanut butter.

I could not live without peanut butter, but I could live without an increase in its price!

Many farmers in southern states like Georgia and Texas lost their peanut crops due to severe heat and drought conditions during this summer’s growing season. Add to that a rise in energy costs, and we’re in for a rise in peanut butter prices.

In fact, according to the USDA, the price for a ton of peanuts used to make peanut butter was almost $1,200 this week. Last year at this time, it was $450 per ton.

Many peanut butter manufacturers have announced that they will increase prices on their products in the coming weeks; some companies have already done so.

*Smuckers, which makes Jif, expects prices to rise 30 percent this month.

*Kraft, which produces the Planters brand, will increase its prices by 40 percent at the end of this month.

*ConAgra, which makes Peter Pan, expects prices to rise by more than 22 percent later this month.

*Unilever, which makes Skippy, hasn’t announced a hike, but its peanut butter is already priced 30-35 percent higher than it was at this time last year.

Peanut butter makes a daily appearance in my household. As a vegetarian, it happens to be one of my main sources of protein. PB&J is also one of the only things my son will eat.

We aren’t alone in our love of the spreadable substance. According to the National Peanut Board, Americans spend almost $800 million on peanut butter every year, and more than 90 percent of homes have at least one jar in the cabinet.

And, with good reason: Peanuts contain seven grams of protein per one ounce serving; that’s more protein than any other nut.

“Ounce for ounce, sandwich for sandwich, you still can’t beat protein-packed peanut butter for value,” said registered dietitians Janice Newell Bissex and Liz Weiss. “That’s as true today as it has ever been, as food costs across the board rise.”

I’ve got to go to the store now and stock up on this staple. You have the inside ‘scoop,’ too. What you do is up to you.

Categories: Economy

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