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Rising Cost Of Peanut Butter Creating A Sticky Situation

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Families have been dealing with higher prices for milk and corn, and now a kid-favorite is going to get a lot more expensive.

The price of peanut butter could rise as much as 40 percent by next month. That’s about $1 more for a normal-sized jar.

It’s because farmers struggled with drought conditions this year, and many decided to plant cotton instead of peanuts because it was more profitable.

WCCO-TV talked to consumers who said what’s long been the go-to food during tough economic times may now have to stay put on grocery shelves.

Moms around America will now have to take a second look before reaching for their safety food.

“You think about what are the two things you usually have in your house: It’s either Macaroni and Cheese or peanut butter and jelly,” said mom Dani Wilson. “We have peanut butter anywhere from two to three times a day at our house.”

Wilson said if peanut butter prices get much higher they’ll have to start curbing how often they eat peanut butter. Part of the problem is it takes almost 800 peanuts in order to create just one 18 ounce jar of Jiff.

Hidden in the basement of the downtown Minneapolis restaurant Hell’s Kitchen is a mini-peanut butter factory.

“We go through about 100 quarts a week of our peanut butter,” said General Manager Tony Perella.

Perella said flags were raised when their invoice showed the price of their peanuts doubled. Rather than pass the pain on to customers, they chose to change their marketing strategy.

“We give away a lot of free samples and as a result we are just going to slow the amount we are going to give away for free samples so we can keep our prices steady for our customers,” said Perella.

Strong demand by consumers is also helping to fuel this shortage.  Peanut butter consumption jumped 10 percent in the last four years. Before the recession, it was typical to see a one to two percent increase each year.

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