Nielsen:Salmonella outbreak slices peanut butter sales

by Eric Schroeder
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NEW YORK — New data from The Nielsen Co. shows that while the peanut-related recall is having minimal effect on prepackaged peanuts the impact on jarred peanut butter is stark.

In the four weeks ended Jan. 24, jarred peanut butter sales tracked by Nielsen totaled $72.5 million, down 11.5% from the previous four-week period and down 3.8% from the same period a year ago. The year-over-year decline follows eight consecutive months of double-digit growth in the category.

In total, 33.8 million lbs of jarred peanut butter were sold in the most recent four-week period, down 11% from the previous period and down 22.1% from the same period a year ago, according to Nielsen.

Meanwhile, prepackaged peanuts, including bags, cans, jars and unshelled, posted sales of nearly $32 million, down 25.9% from the previous four-week period and down 1% from the same period a year ago. Nielsen attributed the decline to "the typical seasonal pattern seen for each of the past four years."

"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 & Shopper Insights at Nielsen. "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."

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