What’s Up With the High Cost of Peanut Butter? — Supermarket Savvy
March is National Peanut Month — it even began with National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day on March 1. But my family essentially celebrates the peanut all the time. My picky kids eat peanut butter sandwiches for lunch daily (I’m ever grateful we aren’t at a peanut-free school), and my husband’s favorite candy is the revered peanut butter cup.
Unfortunately for us (and all the other peanut lovers out there), last year’s peanut harvest was one of the worst in history. Peanut farms in both the United States and Senegal were hit hard by drought, and peanut prices have begun to climb.
On my last shopping trip, I noted that a 16-oz. jar of our favorite brand of peanut butter had jumped almost a dollar in price. Since my family eats the stuff too fast for me to amass a stockpile, I visited Peanut Free Planet to scope out some potential peanut butter substitutes. I discovered peabutter, sunbutter and soybutter, and I grabbed my trusty calculator to compare costs.
Even with the higher price we’re now paying, none ended up cheaper than peanut butter. My usual peanut butter now sells for 25 cents per ounce. Peabutter, made from brown peas, was 44 cents per ounce, while sunbutter, made from sunflower seeds, was 33 cents per ounce. But soybutter — sometimes sold under the brand name “Wowbutter” — wasn’t that much more expensive than the peanut butter I buy, clocking in at 28 cents per ounce.
I then checked with several families who rely on substitutes due to nut allergies to find out what their taste verdicts were. Everyone agreed that nothing tastes quite like the real deal, but that sunbutter was the most passable substitute.
So at least for now, my family will continue to get our peanut fix — but we may start introducing some sunbutter to our children’s picky palates, just in case the price of peanut butter continues to climb.
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