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The price of PB&J is going up

Say it ain't so: One of the cheapest sandwiches you can make at home soon won't cost so little.

By Karen Datko Sep 26, 2011 4:57PM

Updated: Oct. 11, 2011, 11:50 a.m. ET

 

The cost of one of the cheapest sandwiches in the brown-bagger's repertoire is about to go up -- in a very big way.

 

J.M. Smucker, the owner of popular brand Jif, announced a 30% price hike for November -- just in time for National Peanut Butter Lovers Month -- and it isn't the only peanut butter maker raising prices. In addition, Smucker says it will increase the price of the "J" part of PB&J by 4%. 


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"So as consumers we're buying peanut butter for a little more than $3 a jar. We're going to be paying over $4 a jar when that price increase hits," Shelly Nutt, the exquisitely named executive director of the Texas Peanut Producers, told the Fox TV station in Lubbock, Texas.

 

Considering that the average child will eat 1,500 PB&Js by the time she or he graduates from high school -- a "fun fact" from the National Peanut Board (more of them below) -- and that peanut butter is eaten in 90% of U.S. households, this price increase will be very noticeable.

 

A couple reasons:

Some plants shriveled before they could produce peanuts, while other plants got too hot to mature into anything edible. And some of the plants that did mature developed a toxin that makes them more difficult to process.

What's a frugal sandwich-maker to do?

  • Compare the price with other low-cost sandwich ingredients. Salami and bologna sandwiches were actually cheaper than PB&J, according to Len Penzo's 2010 analysis.
  • Try the store brand. It will still be cheaper than the name brands. Len Penzo's peanut butter taste test ranked Albertsons No. 1, beating out Jif, Skippy and Peter Pan.
  • Grin and bear it. This is a temporary increase unless next season's crop is a bust. And remember that you're still saving money when you pack your lunch for school or work.

To help with the grin part, here are two more fun facts from the national peanut folks:

Peanut butter was the secret behind "Mr. Ed," TV's talking horse.
Tom Miller pushed a peanut to the top of Pike's Peak (14,100 feet) using his nose in 4 days, 23 hours, 47 minutes and 3 seconds.

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45Comments
Sep 26, 2011 6:30PM
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With the FED continuing to devalue the dollar, and the government continuing to spend wildly,

our dollar is worth 20% less than it was valued in 2002.   

 

So if you're paying $3.99 for that jar of Jif today, it should only cost you $3.19, but for government mismanagement.

Sep 26, 2011 6:09PM
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Time to start looking into building pipelines from flood regions to pump flood waters into drought regions!
Sep 26, 2011 6:02PM
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I doubt if this is a temporay price increase, food staples have seen big price increases here. Lettuce is twice as much as it was last summer, so are potatoes, Bacon is up about 30% in the last 3 months.
Sep 26, 2011 5:48PM
avatar
you can count on me not being a buyer of your product...greed!
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