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Crunchy Peanut Butter Cost vs. Smooth

chris_macdonald Jun 10, 2014 10:13 AM


Does anyone happen to know the cost differential between crunchy peanut butter and smooth? I figure there must be one because the smooth takes more time and electricity. Thanks.


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    beevod RE: chris_macdonald Jun 10, 2014 04:19 PM

    Twenty one cents

    1. mcsheridan RE: chris_macdonald Jun 10, 2014 04:36 PM

      Kinda looks that way; at Walgreen's you'll pay $3.29 per jar either way, but you'll wind up with two ounces less of creamy than of chunky.

      1. foodieX2 RE: chris_macdonald Jun 10, 2014 04:44 PM

        Welcome to CH!

        I recommend you stop by a variety stores in your area and do your own comparison. While there may be a cost and/or size differential there more likely will be a greater difference if I/we live far away from you. I find that the price of peanut butter varies wildly just in my small town.

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          chris_macdonald RE: chris_macdonald Jun 10, 2014 05:07 PM


          Thanks for the replies. I wasn't sure if there was some place where this data was stored. I figured I could calculate out the difference in volume between the two containers then price out the nut cost difference but that won't account for the energy used in the crushing the extra nuts for the creamy. Beevod, is 21ยข a guesstimate or is there some resource you were able to obtain this information with? Thanks again.


          1 Reply
          1. re: chris_macdonald
            ferret RE: chris_macdonald Jun 11, 2014 05:59 AM

            There's no "energy cost." They're both the same peanut butter, crunchy just has peanut bits added before the packaging process. The likely reason for any cost differential is "because they can."

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            chris_macdonald RE: chris_macdonald Jun 11, 2014 07:31 AM

            It sounds like I may have misstated the question here. The question isn't why is there a price difference, there isn't a price difference. I'm questioning why there isn't a price difference because the creamy takes extra steps to produce.

            "Traditionally women pounded the nuts between stones, a very time consuming activity. Now nuts are often ground in a mill that may be powered by hand or with a motor. The type of mill used will depend on the scale of production, The most commonly used mill is an adjustable plate mill. The tighter the distance between the plates the finer the texture of the butter. The milling process may have to be repeated to obtain the desired texture.

            Salt may be added at this stage; about 2% by weight. A special anti-oxidant chemical may be added to prevent rancidity, which will develop after a few months. However, to start with the product will probably be sold very soon after manufacture. The peanut butter is then packed in jars.

            The type of peanut butter produced by this process is of the 'crunchy' variety, and adjustments on the mill can produce varying textures. For the very smooth paste a more sophisticated milling process is required"

            7 Replies
            1. re: chris_macdonald
              ferret RE: chris_macdonald Jun 11, 2014 09:16 AM

              There's no added cost of production. One is sold as-is, the other has nut bits added. Why would there be a cost difference in production?

              1. re: chris_macdonald
                Golfer77 RE: chris_macdonald Jun 21, 2014 03:05 PM

                Chris, you are obviously well versed in the technical aspects of producing peanut butter both smooth & crunchy. Concerning quality do you happen to know the FDA's current percentage of rodent hair allowable per 12 ounces.

                1. re: Golfer77
                  foodieX2 RE: Golfer77 Jun 21, 2014 04:10 PM

                  Welcome to CH! Why do you ask?

                  1. re: foodieX2
                    chris_macdonald RE: foodieX2 Jun 21, 2014 07:46 PM

                    Hello Foodie,

                    I have a wager going with some friends; I said crunchy peanut butter would be the most profitable for peanut butter companies because they would have to exert less energy and fewer materials on the production. As it turns out though that was incorrect, so now I figure I'm at about 45% chance to win the bet (presuming someone can provide us data to prove one way or the other).


                  2. re: Golfer77
                    chris_macdonald RE: Golfer77 Jun 21, 2014 07:39 PM

                    Hello Golfer,

                    I do not and think it is irrelevant to the question at hand. If you find it is relevant could you please let us know how?


                    1. re: chris_macdonald
                      Golfer77 RE: chris_macdonald Jun 23, 2014 04:53 PM

                      I ask about the increase on the part of the FDA's quality allowance of rodent hairs per ounce because of the changes in regulations brought into play during the Bush administration. By reducing the number of inspectors and a lowering of the standards the levels of allowable rodent hairs per ounce has increased ten fold. This new standard in effect means more peanut butter crunchy or smooth is less expensive to manufacture since the Bush administration.
                      It is a little known fact that the main source for the nut bits used in crunchy peanut butter comes from droppings of nuts to the floor off the production lines. These salvaged nuts are sprayed clean but they are salvaged in a cost saving process.
                      Fomer FDA quality inspector.

                      1. re: Golfer77
                        chris_macdonald RE: Golfer77 Jun 29, 2014 08:39 PM

                        I think this is off topic but let's go on with your assertion here (All values are arbitrary)...

                        Pre-Crunchy Costs: $3.43
                        Pre-Creamy Costs: $3.43
                        FDA Regulations decrease cost by $0.75
                        Crunchy Costs: $2.68
                        Creamy Costs: $2.68

                        So that helps us in no way to finding the differential...

                2. dave_c RE: chris_macdonald Jun 11, 2014 09:36 AM

                  Actually I would think crunchy is more expensive.

                  Have you noticed the chunks are pretty uniform where the peanut chunks are the size of ice cream nut toppings?

                  I'm not sure of the steps, but I see all peanut butter as being made smooth. The added step is to add peanut "chunks" back into the smooth butter.

                  The reality is the time and electrical cost is minimal when amortized over the thousands of jars per batch especially with high powered machinery and automated lines.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: dave_c
                    ferret RE: dave_c Jun 11, 2014 10:41 AM

                    That's exactly how its made. The base is the same.

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                    chris_macdonald RE: chris_macdonald Jun 15, 2014 10:20 AM

                    Okay, I've had confirmations now from Peter Pan and Jif that the nuts are added to the creamy peanut butter to make the crunchy.

                    So now I guess the question is does the volume of the creamy not used in the crunchy balance out the cost of the added peanuts?

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                      gfr1111 RE: chris_macdonald Jun 21, 2014 04:20 PM

                      This strikes me as debating the number of angels on the head of a pin, but I'm game. Wouldn't the slight difference in cost in the production of the peanut butters be overshadowed by the greater demand for (I assume) creamy peanut butter over that of crunchy. Since there is less demand for crunchy, the per unit cost of crunchy would be higher.

                      I think a difference in price would be market-driven, not production-driven.

                      Incidentally, I bought both Jif Crunchy and Jif Smooth last week. They were both the same price: $3.29. (Then, this week they were on sale at two for $4.00, causing me to gnash my teeth.)

                      1. ipsedixit RE: chris_macdonald Jun 21, 2014 08:05 PM

                        The cost difference is at best marginal, and given the economic of scale for big manufacturers of PB (e.g. Skippy or Jif) in the long-run the cost difference between the two would approach zero, and ultimately reach zero if extrapolated infinitely.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: ipsedixit
                          chris_macdonald RE: ipsedixit Jun 29, 2014 08:40 PM

                          I agree it is marginal but I'm wondering which one actually is cheaper to produce.

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                          chris_macdonald RE: chris_macdonald Jun 29, 2014 08:44 PM

                          So we have determined (I think all agreeing?) the equation to find this out is (less the energy costs which might not be calculable).

                          A =# of Peanuts to produce a jar of Creamy
                          B = # of Peanuts to produce a jar of Crunchy
                          C = Cost of a Peanut

                          Differential = (A*C) +/- (C*B)

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