Imagining a world where chocolate becomes a costly luxury is hard enough — but now peanut butter, too? The reliable sandwich spread is becoming problematic, thanks to a peanut shortage that's sending prices skyrocketing, reports Tiffany Hsu of the Los Angeles Times. After searingly hot weather devastated the summer crop of Runner peanuts, the variety most widely used to make the creamy — or crunchy! — spread, the cost of raw peanuts has nearly tripled. A look at the numbers behind this "scary" new development:
Pounds of peanuts that will be harvested this year, down 17 percent from 2010
Years since the United States has experienced a peanut harvest this bad. Blame "high heat, strong winds, and bone-dry conditions," say researchers from New Mexico State University.
The cost of a ton of Runner peanuts in 2010
The cost of a ton of Runner peanuts in 2011
Percentage increase in the price of Jif
Percentage increase in the price of Skippy
Percentage of U.S. households that consume peanut butter
Percentage increase of peanut butter consumption in the U.S. since 2008. It's a "much more affordable protein option for families" than meat or fish, says Kim Conte at The Stir.
Amount the peanut industry contributes each year to the domestic economy, according to the National Peanut Board
The number of peanuts it takes to make one 12 oz. jar of peanut butter
The price hike for an 18-ounce jar of Jif peanut butter, which currently costs $3.14 at a Target store in New Jersey