Why Is Peanut Butter So Expensive? 5 Interesting Reasons

November 17, 2021
why is peanut butter so expensive

If you like to keep a close eye on exactly how much you’re spending on your weekly grocery shopping, you might be wondering ‘why is peanut butter so expensive?’. 

For many of us, it’s a kitchen cupboard staple. Maybe you like a spoonful in your morning porridge, a generous spread on a slice of hot toast, or if you’re anything like me, perhaps you’re partial to a spoon straight from the jar! 

These days, you’ll even find peanut butter as a key ingredient for a whole host of delicious savoury recipes, such as chicken satay and many Asian inspired nutty dishes. 

But despite being so widely used, you may have noticed that it often comes with a surprisingly high price tag. So why is peanut butter so expensive, when peanuts are so relatively cheap? 

1. Peanut butter is in high demand 

The simple law of supply and demand dictates that if lots of people want to get their hands on a product, this is going to drive up the associated cost.

Manufacturers and retailers are well aware that lots of people just aren’t willing to live without their nutty fix, which is precisely why peanut butter can often cost so much. 

Take a second to consider just how on trend it is right now. If you follow health and fitness influencers online, you’ve probably noticed that they’re eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, practically every day of the week. 

In fact, research by Healthista revealed that nine in ten of us always have a jar in the cupboard, and a huge 70% of us consider peanut butter to be our favourite spread, beating the likes of jam and Marmite hands down. 

In many ways, you’re paying for the luxury of getting your hands on a much loved and desired product. 

2. You’re often paying for fancy branding 

Peanut butter’s popularity means that there are plenty of businesses out there that are fighting for their piece of the pie. 

They know that they’ve got some fierce competition and hard work ahead of them if they want to dominate the market and become consumers’ favourite, so they invest huge amounts of time and money into their marketing efforts. 

Next time you’re in the supermarket, take note of just how sophisticated and carefully planned much of the branding is when it comes to your favourite spread. You’ll see brands showing off their organic credentials, others showing off about their premium ingredients, and some that are clearly trying to appeal to the lucrative health conscious market. 

Ultimately, the cost of marketing has to be passed on to you, as the buyer. 

You can try to avoid this premium by looking out for the supermarkets’ own brands, and considering budget options. It’s often a case of being mindful about what you’re really paying for! 

3. Peanuts are expensive to store 

One of the key reasons why peanut butter is so expensive is that peanuts are notoriously tricky to store. 

Due to their high fat content, they can easily turn rancid or mouldy, and this would be quite devastating for a manufacturer. Though the appearance may remain the same, the nuts will develop a chemical like smell and taste bitter or sour, and of course this means that they can’t then be used to produce that delicious nutty butter that we all know and love. 

Great care has to be taken to ensure that peanuts are stored and transported correctly, and this incurs a cost that’s reflected in the pricing. 

4. Peanut butter has to be imported to some countries 

Just like many different types of food, peanut butter isn’t so popular in certain locations. This, coupled with necessary growing conditions, means that in some countries, peanuts aren’t grown at all. 

Whilst you’ll find nut butters readily available in countries such as America and the UK, it’s much less popular in other places such as Italy, Germany, and Spain. 

When products have to be imported from aboard, this naturally increases the price. 

Many US expats who are living abroad will greatly miss a spoonful of peanut butter, and ask their friends and family to bring over a jar when they are visiting! 

5. Costs from the manufacturing process have to be passed on to consumers 

It’s true that for many people, peanuts are fairly affordable. This is especially true if you’re happy to buy the shelled varieties. Sometimes, removing them from their shells can be part of the fun. 

But the process of turning raw nuts into peanut butter is extensive, and there are many different considerations that manufacturers have to make, from storage as we’ve already touched upon, to adding the right preservatives to ensure the finished product reaches you in tip top condition. 

The journey of a jar of peanut butter involves numerous steps, including grinding, flavour developing, and packaging, and so on. 

As consumer tastes become more sophisticated and demanding, producers also must spend time developing new lines and ensuring they stay ahead of trends. 

Again, the cost of this is reflected in the pricing on the supermarket shelves, and it’s one of the reasons why peanut butter is expensive! 

Is it cheaper to make your own peanut butter?

Of course it’s going to depend on the recipe you follow and the ingredients you choose to use, as well as the equipment that you already have at home in your kitchen, but it’s surprisingly easy to make your own peanut butter, and you could also save yourself some cash. 

This homemade peanut butter recipe requires just one ingredient – peanuts! – and it takes six minutes to make. 

Here are some extra considerations to make if you’re trying to decide if it’s worth it to make your own peanut butter: 

If budget is a key factor for you, you’ll need to consider whether you can buy peanuts in bulk, how much you usually spend on your favourite jar, whether you’re happy to pay extra for the convenience of buying a readymade jar, and so on.   

Is homemade peanut butter healthier than store bought? 

The answer to this question does of course depend on the recipe you use, and the variety of shop bought peanut butter that you’re referring to. 

Generally speaking though, making your own peanut butter gives you much greater control over the ingredients you use, and you can choose to omit any sugars or preservatives that you’re trying to eliminate from your diet, meaning that it can indeed be a much healthier option. 

Is homemade peanut butter worth it? 

In my opinion, yes! It can be cheaper, healthier, and it takes just six minutes to make from scratch. It’s also a great activity to get the family involved with, and little ones will love being part of the process. 

This article answers your question of why peanut butter is 


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