I bet the banksters and the House Republicans are responsible for the shocking leap in the PBPI*
*Peanut-Butter Price Index (somebody must be tracking it, no?)
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Update: There really is a peanut crisis! (See below)
Shocked by the skyrocketing price of peanut butter? Now you can be one of three lucky devils to win a jar each of Planters creamy and crunchy. However, please don't go to this link for the Planters Peanut Butter Giveaway, because if you enter, that just reduces my chances of winning, and I really, really want that free peanut butter.
Okay, let's talk about something important for a change. What in hell has happened to the price of peanut butter?
It must have been a few months ago that I really got the jolt. I had certainly noticed that for a few months previous, there hadn't been any peanut butter in my supermarket's weekly sales flyer. Once upon a time there was one brand or another in pretty much every week's flyer, and it's a mark of the desensitization of my palate that these days I'm pretty okay with any of the supermarket brands. (Once upon a time they were mostly too sweet for me.) Which means that I have the luxury of going with whatever's on sale -- when there was peanut butter on sale.
And even failing that, the supermarket's store brand is actually pretty good. At least the crunchy variety, which is what I normally buy. Or at least the store-brand crunchy used to be pretty good. I'd already noticed, before the event I'm about to narrate, that it had become even nuttier than before, but only the top couple of inches; below that, it was not only decidedly nut-poor but decidedly oily. After a few such jars, I developed the hypothesis that it wasn't an aberration. (It might have been okay if you could stir the whole jar's contents upon opening, but the first time I tried that, it was making such a mess that I soon gave up.)
Nevertheless, when I decided that after all those weeks of peanut-butter-less sale flyers, I would have to make do with the store brand, I gritted my teeth and tossed a jar in my basket. Only to find, when it scanned at checkout, that the normally $2.69 peanut butter rang up as $3.25! $3.25? Well, of course I didn't buy it. I hate asking the supermarket checker to void an item, but really, $3.25 for a jar of the store-brand peanut butter? What am I, a lost Koch brother?
As I recall, I moseyed back to the peanut-butter shelves and noticed that the shelf price had indeed gone up -- to $2.99. But I checked a jar with the customer scanner, and it indeed came up as $3.25. And in subsequent weeks the shelf was finally adjusted to reflect the real, honest-to-goodness price: $3.25. Zounds.
There's no happy ending, or even a dramatic ending, to this story. This past week there was actually Jif in the flyer -- at, as I recall, a mere $2.99. I swallowed hard, and prepared to buy a few jars, but by the time I got around to dropping in, there was no crunchy left on the shelf? (I often wonder, now that the stores have all this inventory and sales information available to them via the scanning system, do they actually know what they sell?) And I can get some cockamamie brand of creamy peanut butter at my neighborhood dollar store for $2, and it's no worse than Jif's creamy.
Which brings me back to the Planters Peanut Butter Giveaway. I don't ever see Planters peanut butter in the stores where I shop, but I figure Planters and peanuts, what could be bad? Especially for free.
As I've noted here, I don't usually get drawn into these "you have a chance to win" deals. But sometimes I make exceptions if it's something I would be buying anyway. And in this case, where there are going to be three winners, not one, each getting not one but two jars, well, I couldn't resist. (Truth in reporting: When I first clicked through to the giveaway offer, I could swear I'd read that the winners would be getting a case of peanut butter.)
What's more, according to the terms of the offer, if I blog about it I get an extra chance to win, and if I include the giveaway link, I get another extra chance. Here's the link again, by the way -- and I don't think I even get another extra chance for double-linking. (There are also extra chances for Twittering and Facebooking, but even I have my limits.)
But again, I really don't want you to click through, and I certainly don't want you entering, because I don't want you messing up my chance to win the peanut butter. See, I really, really want those free jars. (Yes, even the creamy one.) And as we all know from all those TV food competitions, almost the only thing that matters is how much you want to win.
And I want that peanut butter.
UPDATE: IT'S A PEANUT-CROP CRISIS
A commenter who unfortunately declined to identify himself has provided valuable information on the peanut situation from an October 31 CNN Money report. Here's the gist of it:
". . . the peanut industry is clearly under pressure this year after one of the worst harvests in recent memory.
"Prices for a ton of runner peanuts, commonly used to make peanut butter, hit nearly $1,200 this month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. That's up from just $450 per ton a year ago. [...]
"Analysts attribute this drop to the intense heat and drought that hit the southern U.S. this year, as well as to high prices for other crops that led farmers to focus their efforts elsewhere."
Yet another hint of what's coming with climate change.
I actually considered making some sort of joke about a theoretical peanut-crop crisis. Turns out it's not theoretical. Thanks for the info, Anon.