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Peanut Butter Sales Drop Off

The peanut recall has taken a toll on overall sales of peanut butter, according to Nielsen Co.

SCHAUMBURG, Ill. — The peanut recall has taken a toll on overall sales of peanut butter, according to Nielsen Co.

During the four-week period ending Jan. 24, jarred peanut butter generated $72.5 million in sales in food, drug and mass channels (excluding Wal-Mart). This represents an 11.5% drop in dollar sales vs. the previous four-week period and a 3.8 % decline when compared to the same period a year ago.

While the year-over-year decline seems minimal, it comes after eight consecutive periods of double-digit dollar sales growth in the category, according to Nielsen. Likewise, 33.8 million pounds of jarred peanut butter were sold during the four weeks, down 11% from the previous four weeks' volume sales and down 22.1 % from the same period a year ago. Again, this pattern is different than noted during prior periods.

“The peanut butter outbreak shows little ill-effect on prepackaged peanuts, but the peanut butter category is definitely showing the impact,” said Todd Hale, senior vice president of consumer and shopper insights at Nielsen, in a statement. “It would appear that manufacturers and retailers are quickly removing potentially tainted products off of store shelves. For those who are not affiliated with the particular supplier of tainted product, now is the time to take extra measures to educate consumers and minimize any negative impact.”

In comparison, nearly $32 million worth of prepackaged peanuts, including bags, cans and jars, were sold during the four-week period, a 25.9% drop vs. the previous four-week period, and down 1% from the same period a year ago. This reflects the typical seasonal pattern seen for each of the past four years.

Unshelled peanuts showed a small increase in dollar and unit volume during the four weeks vs. the previous four weeks: 0.6% in dollar sales and 1.7 % in pounds sold.

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