Finding the best bargain on peanut butter

November 3, 2011 3:55:46 PM PDT
It is one of the worst harvests in decades. We are talking about peanuts, and that will have a direct effect on the price of peanut butter at the grocery store.

We've already reported how prices could be climbing as much as 40 percent, so we went out to check out the prices and look for alternatives.

Peanut butter is a staple in 90 percent of American households, so many shoppers admit they can't give up peanut butter. But after the prices go up, you may consider buying the store brand. It's cheaper and you may find you can't tell the difference.

At H-E-B the price of JiF peanut butter is currently $2.18. But soon we will be paying 30 percent more, making the jar of JiF $2.83; and the price is expected to keep climbing.

"It's out outrageous, it's outrageous," shopper Mitzi Ortale said.

The price of Peter Pan is currently $2.49, but is expected to go up as much as a dollar more, making a jar $3.49.

"It's difficult for people to afford groceries as it is; for that go up 40 percent, that's tough," shopper Elizabeth Bailey said.

So we went in search for a better bargain. Can you find a better deal at a dollar store? We checked out a couple of stores, including Family Dollar. There, we found Peter Pan for $2.25 a jar; the price at H-E-B was 24 cents more.

We also compared the price of JiF peanut butter: the Family Dollar price is $3.25, but the H-E-B price is $2.49 -- that's 76 cents cheaper at H-E-B.

So if you want to save money, you may have to look at the store brand. We found H-E-B's Hill Country Fare brand for $1.84 a jar. That's the cheapest price at the store.

So we know the store brand is always going to be a better deal compared to the national brand, but how does it compare when it comes to taste? We put it to the test with some of the best critics, peanut butter lovers.

"I want to lick it all up," taste tester Anne-Renee Sellers said.

Anne-Renee and her big sister Julianne Sellers love peanut butter and jelly sandwiches so they jumped at the chance to taste test the best-selling national brands compared to the store brand.

"I really like the taste and it's kinda creamy, and I really like it; it's hard to describe it -- it's just really, really good," Julianne said.

In the end, they couldn't tell the difference.

"They are all really, really good," Julianne said.

Even the adults had trouble tasting the difference.

"The texture was good on all three, the consistency was good, I think, on all three," shopper Kathy McMinn said.

But one taste tester did have a clear favorite -- it was the Peter Pan peanut butter.

"The last one taste best to me," taste tester Najeeb Baqui said.

The bottom line is if you buy a lot of peanut butter, it may pay to try the store brand since you will save. Otherwise, you could buy your favorite brand in bulk at the wholesale club, which is another way to save.

Expect to pay for almond butter about a dollar to two bucks more, but it's healthier than peanut butter.

As far as making peanut butter, it might be a little cheaper but it does take a little work; however that's also healthier than the store bought kind.

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