by InvestorPlace Staff | January 24, 2012 1:35 pm
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?
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, InvestorPlace.com Assistant Editor
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