Peanut Butter Recall Hurts Sales

Filed under: Alerts & Recalls

peanut butter sandwichPeanut Butter is more than just your child's lunch/allergy. It's big business.

With the recent recall of tainted PB, big name brands like Jif and Peter Pan have seen a drop in sales of at least 20 percent, according to a report by CNN, while the green parenting site EcoChildsPlay puts the number at 25 percent.

More than 1,000 different products are now included in the recall since it was first announced. Consumers, particularly parents, are scared. And they should be -- CNN says that "nearly 600" people who ate the tainted nut products have gotten sick, and eight have died. Died.

Let me say that again – eight people have Died.

What's a peanut butter manufacturer to do? A big information campaign, and coupons, coupons, coupons.

According to CNN, "Companies such as ConAgra Foods Inc. and J.M. Smucker Co. have started running ads and offering coupons, trying to lure peanut butter customers as sales have plunged at least 20 percent since the salmonella outbreak."

Why should we buy peanut butter from these folks? They claim that their products were not made at the offending plant and that they pose no risk to consumers. The question is, how can they convince parents they're telling the truth? The tainted PB wasn't shipped to grocery stores, but moms and dads are "playing it safe."

Dr. Douglas Powell of Kansas State University told CNN, "If you're a parent packing a lunch and you have all the hectic things going on in the morning, is it really realistic to say, hey, before you put that peanut snack cracker individually wrapped item into your kid's lunch, you're going to go onto the Internet and check a Web site? I think that's a bit much. I think it's prudent to avoid this stuff until we see where this is going." Dr. Powell ought to know -- he's a professor food safety. (I didn't even know they had professors of food safety. Do they get to wear cool uniforms like Captain Crunch?)

So far I'm letting my kids eat peanut butter, but we eat the organic fancy-schmancy stuff, which I'm told is safe. And last week my toddler was eating a Chinese candy that he had received at school; when I saw that it had peanuts in it, I took it out of his hand and threw it away. I'm sure it wasn't a problem but I was uncomfortable with the idea of him eating it. And if we were a Jif or Peter Pan household, I think I'd be wary, although I imagine I would let them eat it if I received enough assurances. The coupon wouldn't matter to me; when it comes to my kid's safety, saving a dollar or two (literally) really doesn't effect my decisions.

On the bright side, this could be a boon for the allergic kids out there. Less peanut butter sales means less PB&J at lunchtime. It reminds me of when I quit smoking in college – cigs hit two dollars a pack (this was not, as they say, last Tuesday) and a new rule had been passed that banned smoking on campus. I finally decided it wasn't worth it. Maybe parents of peanut butter lovers will do the same thing. (Not that peanut butter is like smoking; it's just that sometimes an external circumstance can bring about a change.)

Are you still eating peanut butter? How about your kids? Why or why not?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.