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Plummeting peanut production pumps peanut butter prices

Posted November 2, 2011

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— This year’s plummeting peanut production has caused several peanut butter makers to raises prices. Peter Pan and JIF raised their wholesale peanut butter prices 20 percent Monday, while Smuckers introduced 30 percent price hikes Tuesday.

Bob Sutter, chief executive of the North Carolina Peanut Growers Association, says peanut production is down this year across the nation. At the beginning of the season, farmers figured they could make more money by planting other crops, he said.

“It's a matter of supply and demand,” Sutter said. “Cotton prices were high this spring, and that prompted farmers to plant cotton instead of peanuts this year.”

That, plus a bad drought in Texas, caused peanut supplies to be down 13 percent from last year. Sutter says consumers should get used to the higher prices.

“The price of peanut butter is not going to come back down until we get another crop,” he said.

That crop will come next fall. In Halifax County, farmer Jerry Hamill says Hurricane Irene caused him to have one of the worst crops he has ever seen. However, his 300 acres of peanuts have saved the season.

“The rain benefited the peanuts,” he said.

Peanut butter prices going up Peanut butter prices going up

Almost all of Hamill’s peanuts will be ballpark peanuts – the kind roasted in the shell. The smaller peanuts used for peanut butter are grown mostly in the Deep South, but some North Carolina peanuts get mashed into butter.

“Just because (consumers) are paying what they think is a high price for peanut butter, I promise you the farmer isn't getting any of that increase,” Hamill said.

Sutter says prices for in-shell roasted peanuts will rise as well. Companies that package nuts for snacks say they are watching their competitors to determine whether price increases will be necessary.

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  • simplelogic Nov 3, 2011

    Why would a price increase be necessitated by your competitors? I could understand a price DEcrease, but an increase? I don't get it. An opportunity, maybe, but not a necessity.

  • mikeyj Nov 3, 2011

    Texas roadhouse broken into perp takes off with 500 lbs of dry roasted peanuts.

  • grimreaper Nov 3, 2011

    Another product not to buy...just skip it...kill the demand...the price will drop that 20% or more...

  • cdtech20059 Nov 3, 2011

    almond butter rocks. see you later PB.

  • CherryPicker Nov 3, 2011

    With all the peanut allergies out there, Let's just Boycott the Peanut butter industry and watch them go down the tubes just like the rest of the economy. Problem is the Politicians.

  • outdoor592000 Nov 3, 2011

    Guess I will be skipping on the 'Skippy'!

  • The Fox Nov 3, 2011

    Great alliterations folks!

  • Screw WrAl Nov 3, 2011

    add that to the "I'm not gonna buy it anymore" column and let's move on.

  • bigal02282 Nov 3, 2011

    I'm NOT gonna take it any more! I'm gonna grab all my peanuts, toss em all on the floor and just stomp and stomp and stomp on em! That will show these peanut people we mean business! Wait a sec... I think I just made peanut butter.......

  • workingforthosethatwont Nov 3, 2011

    and the fuel they burn to transport it.......it's a racket I tell you, a racket!

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