How about just a jelly sandwich? A peanut shortage means that food manufacturers are paying roughly double what they paid for peanuts last year. In the coming weeks, that price increase is expected to be passed along to consumers in the form of peanut butter that’s 25% to 40% more expensive.
The problem started last spring, when many farmers in states such as Georgia and Texas decided to plant cotton rather than peanuts—because cotton was selling at record-high prices at the time. Over the summer, according to a story published in the Kansas City Star, drought and disease hurt the peanuts that were planted, resulting in a small harvest.
While the peanut supply has dropped, demand has risen over the past few years because, as every frugal mom and bare-bones-budget college student knows, peanut butter is a much cheaper source of protein than meat.
Soon, though, peanut butter won’t be quite as good a bargain. The wholesale price of peanuts has soared from $450 a ton to $1,150 per ton, and the net result will be much more expensive jars of peanut butter lining supermarket aisles.
Big-selling brands such as Jif are expected to be selling for 30% higher prices come November, and jars of Peter Pan peanut butter are increasing by 24% in a couple weeks. Kraft’s new Planters line of peanut butter, which was launched in June, will be 40% pricier by the end of October.
To beat the price hike, do the obvious and stock up on peanut butter soon. A well-stocked pantry could get you through to next spring, by which time farmers are likely to plant more peanuts because they’ve been selling at such high prices.