Peanut butter is a wonder.
You can eat it on its own, spread it on some bread, or even add it to baked goods to make them creamier and more flavorful.
There’s no shortage of desserts and dishes you can make with a bit of peanut butter.
However, you may have realized that peanut butter is quite expensive.
Considering that it comes from peanuts, you may wonder what makes peanut butter so expensive.
Why Is Peanut Butter So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average price of peanut butter is $5.
However, there are some jars that cost $15 and more.
Certain factors like whether it’s artisanal, the effects of climate, and production costs can make peanut butter quite expensive.
Let’s look at these factors in more detail.
1. High Demand
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons peanut butter is expensive is that there’s a high demand for it.
Peanut butter is a delicious spread that some people even eat on its own.
In most cases, people spread it on toast, sandwiches, ice cream, and even baked goods.
It can also be a useful addition to some vegetables to give them a more satisfying flavor.
It’s also a common ingredient used in making desserts and baked goods.
Because of the wide use of peanut butter, it means a lot of people are usually trying to get their hands on it.
Whether it’s to make simple sandwiches at home or to make a dessert at a restaurant, demand is high.
This makes peanut butter expensive because it means there’s always demand for it.
If something happens that makes the supply of peanut butter decrease, then the price of peanut butter will likely soar.
Peanut butter is expensive because it’s in such high demand.
2. Artisanal Jars
When it comes to peanut butter companies, there are several different options.
Perhaps one of the best-known brands is Jif.
While they have somewhat of a monopoly on peanut butter, they aren’t the only ones who sell peanut butter.
You may notice while browsing the peanut butter shelf that there are some brands that put an “artisanal” label on their jars.
You may wonder if there’s any real difference between an artisanal jar and a jar of Jif peanut butter.
In some cases, there may be.
For example, artisanal peanut butter might be all-natural.
Others might simply have a smaller scale of production, so they put “artisanal” on their jars to make their product seem fancier or of higher quality.
It can sometimes be nothing more than a marketing ploy.
However, you’ll usually find that jars labeled “artisanal” come with higher prices.
True artisanal peanut butter is sometimes worth the extra price.
It might come from a genuine peanut butter master who knows how to make flavorful, creamy peanut butter that melts on the tongue.
Either way, peanut butter is expensive when it has an artisanal label.
3. Short Shelf Life Of Peanuts
A problem with peanuts is that they don’t have a long shelf life.
Once the cream is out of the nut, it tends to become moldy quite fast.
That’s why brands like Jif will put a few other ingredients into their peanut butter to make it last longer.
However, they need to make their peanut butter first before their peanuts go bad.
This makes peanut butter expensive because brands tend to pay higher costs to get the peanuts to their factories as soon as possible.
Transporting peanuts from the peanut farm to the factory is a time-sensitive process.
The faster the trucks arrive, the faster companies can make peanut butter and have it last longer.
If something happens to the truck that delays delivery, then there’s a chance that the peanuts it’s carrying will become moldy.
As a result, the company might lose an entire shipment of peanuts.
That’s a huge investment lost.
To avoid that, they pay slightly higher prices to keep their transport trucks in good condition.
They also need to have a bit of money set aside to soak up any losses that they do incur.
Even a truck that arrives on time might be carrying some peanuts that are no longer edible.
By selling at a higher price, companies can cushion themselves against those losses.
Peanut butter is expensive because peanuts have a short shelf life.
4. Manufacturing Costs
Making peanut butter may not seem that difficult, but it does require a few steps and some machinery.
Peanuts arrive at a factory and undergo various deshelling processes.
Once unshelled, the peanuts go through a type of blender where they’re crushed into a cream.
A few ingredients like sugar and milk then get added to the mixture to make it creamier and smoother.
From there, each brand might add its own ingredients to give its specific peanut butter a unique flavor, look, or texture.
Once the peanut butter is ready, it goes into a jar, then heads out to a grocery store.
Because producing peanut butter entails several steps, it tends to have slightly high manufacturing costs.
It’s important to remember that factories are making peanut butter on a massive scale.
It’s a lot easier when you’re only making a single jar at home.
To ensure their machines stay in good condition, the company also has to perform regular maintenance on them.
They also must follow various regulations to ensure their peanut butter is edible and safe to eat.
All those factors increase the cost of producing peanut butter, too.
Peanut butter is expensive because manufacturing it can be quite expensive.
5. Shipping Costs
Another cost that plagues peanut butter companies is shipping costs.
There are two main costs that they have to contend with.
As explained earlier, it’s important for companies to receive their peanuts as quickly as possible.
As such, they invest heavily into ensuring their trucks and other means of transportation bring peanuts to them as fast as they can.
Once the peanut butter leaves the factory, they also have to pay shipping costs to the grocery store.
Peanut butter jars aren’t large products, but they aren’t exactly small either.
They can also be quite heavy.
As such, companies may sometimes have to pay extra fees on highways that have weight limits.
Fuel prices are another problem that they face.
When fuel prices are high, then companies pay even more to move their peanuts and peanut butter around.
Since it costs them more money, the company is going to charge higher prices for its peanut butter.
Peanut butter is expensive when shipping costs are high.
6. Other Nut Butters
While peanut butter is a popular spread, it isn’t the only nut used to make butter.
Almonds and cashew are two other popular nuts that can be used to make nut butter.
The problem with almond and cashew butter is that they tend to be more expensive than peanut butter.
Almond butter, in particular, is more expensive because almonds are more expensive to grow than peanuts.
Peanuts grow under the ground and are easier to maintain and protect.
Almonds grow on trees and are subject to weather changes and other problems.
Since they’re more expensive to grow, anything made with almonds also tends to be more expensive.
However, this has also given peanut butter the chance to become more expensive.
When almond and cashew butter are more expensive, peanut butter looks quite cheap.
Therefore, peanut butter manufacturers can get away with charging a few more cents or dollars for their jars because they’re still technically cheaper than almond and cashew butter.
Peanut butter is expensive because the other types of nut butter have raised the ceiling on how expensive nut butter can be.
7. Natural Peanut Butter
When it comes to peanut butter, you have your pick between standard peanut butter and natural peanut butter.
Standard peanut butter tends to be what most people eat.
It contains a variety of ingredients like peanuts, milk, sugar, salt, and some sort of vegetable oil.
The vegetable oil helps preserve the peanut butter and ensures that it doesn’t degrade when exposed to certain temperatures.
Natural peanut butter, on the other hand, is a simplified version of peanut butter.
As its name might suggest, this type of peanut butter is kept as natural as possible.
The main ingredients in natural peanut butter are peanuts and salt.
You can also find natural peanut butter that only uses peanuts.
Natural peanut butter tends to be more expensive than standard peanut butter.
Since it contains fewer ingredients, you may wonder why that’s the case.
It has to do with shelf life.
Natural peanut butter doesn’t last as long as standard peanut butter.
That’s because it doesn’t have a preserving agent in it.
Because it doesn’t last that long, natural peanut butter companies deal with a lot of waste.
To make up for their losses, they charge more for their peanut butter.
Natural peanut butter is also a healthier version of peanut butter.
It carries with it a hefty price tag.
Finally, because it doesn’t last long, consumers find themselves having to buy more jars than they would otherwise.
Peanut butter is expensive when it’s natural.
Peanut butter comes from the peanut plant.
As such, certain problems in its growing environment can reduce a peanut plant’s yield.
For example, peanuts are primarily grown in the southeastern parts of the United States.
The problem with this area is that hurricanes sometimes happen.
Despite being underground, peanuts can become damaged if a hurricane passes through a field.
It can rip the plants from the ground.
It can also damage warehouses storing peanuts.
This makes peanut butter expensive because bad weather affects the supply of peanuts available.
Since peanut butter companies have to pay more for their peanuts, they charge more for their products.
Peanut butter is expensive when hurricanes damage peanut fields.
9. Winter Storms
Winter storms are another problem affecting peanut fields.
Another area in which a decent number of peanuts grow is the southwestern part of the United States.
The problem with this area is that they sometimes are hit with rare winter storms.
The freezing temperatures can damage peanuts even though they are under the ground.
It’s part of the reason why peanuts aren’t successfully grown in large numbers in the northern part of the country.
When a winter storm destroys a peanut field, it reduces the supply available.
Peanut butter companies have to pay more for their peanuts as a result.
Peanut butter is expensive when winter storms destroy peanut fields.
A final reason peanut butter is expensive is due to drought.
Certain areas in the country struggle with drought.
Many of these affected areas also happen to be where peanuts grow.
As a result, their peanut yields aren’t as high as usual.
The lack of water can kill peanuts or reduce their yield.
The peanuts might also not grow as large as they should.
As a result, peanut butter companies must pay more to acquire the peanuts they need to make peanut butter.
Since they’re paying more money, they raise the price of their peanut butter to offset their costs.
Peanut butter is expensive because of droughts impacting the peanut supply.
Peanut butter is a delicious spread that’s great on its own and also great with other foods.
Problems with the climate as well as rising farming costs can make peanut butter quite expensive.NEXT: Why Is Flour So Expensive? (10 Reasons)