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Apocalypse then: The great peanut-butter shortage is over

October 19, 2012|By David Lazarus
  • A weary nation breathes a sigh of relief as the shortage of peanut butter comes to an end.
A weary nation breathes a sigh of relief as the shortage of peanut butter… (Resumebucketblog.com )

Our national nightmare is over.

Fears of an ongoing shortage of peanuts and hence peanut butter (which, if it isn't a food group, should be) have been alleviated by a record peanut crop.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the 2012 peanut harvest should hit 6.1 billion pounds, topping the 2008 record of almost 5.2 billion pounds.

The increase has cut peanut prices by more than half since the spring, prompting makers of peanut butter to say retail prices should come down in coming months.

"We're happy to be back into a normal supply situation after two years of droughts and high heat," Patrick Archer, president of the American Peanut Council, told the Wall Street Journal. "There will be some easing of consumer prices as a result."

Thank God.

The peanut supply was hammered by two years of hot, not-so-rainy weather. This drove prices of shelled peanuts to a peak of about $1.25 a pound.

Peanut butter-loving consumers soon witnessed a nearly 40% spike in prices for Skippy, Jif and other brands.

With fears that people would start hoarding peanut butter, some stores limited the number of jars that shoppers could buy.

Basically, we're talking "The Walking Dead," but without so much zombies.

Peanut prices have since dropped to around 55 cents a pound, and peanut-butter makers have picked up production.

A weary nation can only breathe a sigh of relief.

ALSO:

Peanut butter prices about to soar amid poor harvest

Drought leads restaurants to raise prices, cut portions

Chocolate shortage may be looming, says Scientific American report

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