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National Peanut Butter Day Getting Pricier to Celebrate

2011 saw price hikes, and 2012 has more in store


While National Peanut Butter Day traditionally is a cause for celebration every Jan. 24 (for the 15 people who remember it), this year’s observance seems a bit muted.

You can thank skyrocketing prices in 2011 for that — and it’s about to get worse. According to Kraft (NYSE:KFT) Canada, peanut butter prices are going up another 35% at the end of January thanks to continuing peanut harvest problems.

This is merely a continuation of 2011, when a weak peanut crop caused numerous companies to raise their peanut butter prices throughout the year, with the biggest hits coming in October. Among the headline price jumps floated about?

  • Kraft, Planters, up 40%
  • J.M. Smucker Co. (NYSE:SJM), Jif, up 30%
  • ConAgra (NYSE:CAG), Peter Pan, up 20%

The most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reflect the jumps. Peanut butter sold for $2.23 per pound in November 2011 — the highest since it started tracking prices in 1984. The previous peak was $2.21 in April 1991.

While droughts in Texas and Georgia hurt supplies, a trend of farmers away from peanuts and toward higher-margin crops like corn and soybeans also heavily contributed to the shortage.

Now it appears that same trend will put further upward pressure on prices in 2012.

— Kyle Woodley, Assistant Editor

Article printed from InvestorPlace Media,

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