The price of peanuts on the wholesale level is soaring, and that’s expected to be reflected in grocery stores in the very near future.
According to data from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), year-to-year prices for a ton of peanuts have, with some variation, been on a slow rise since 2006. In October of that year, prices ranged near $350 per ton. In October of 2007, they were around $410. In 2008 they were approximately $560 per ton. Prices fell back to the $420 range in October 2009, and were about $450 at this point last year.
But then comes 2011. A hot, dry summer in the southern US has led to a peanut shortage. As per the USDA’s October 12th report, the per ton cost of peanuts has sky-rocketed to approximately $1200. Almost tripling the price of just one year ago.
The USDA is estimating a 17% drop in the quantity of this year’s peanut crop, and on top of that, much of this year’s crop is of such low quality that it will be used for purposes other than human consumption.
According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the price that consumers are paying for peanuts and peanut butter is expected to rise quickly. They report that, on the wholesale level, jars of Jif Peanut Butter are headed up 30% next month. Peter Pan Peanut Butter is expected to increase by as much as 24% within weeks. Skippy Peanut Butter is also reported to be headed up 30% to 35% higher than last year. The price of Planters Peanut Butter is expected to rise 40% on October 31.
Many are predicting a run on peanut butter, with consumers attempting to stockpile the product before the prices go up. The recommended shelf life for Peter Pan Peanut Butter is 18 months (though varies somewhat based on variety), according to the Peter Pan Peanut Butter website. They say that after that time, the peanut butter will not spoil, but may develop some ‘off-flavors’. The other major peanut butter websites do not list the shelf life of their peanut butters.