Peanuts no more as crop price soars

Hard-up Britons already have to think twice before heading to their local pub to drown their sorrows, because of the rising cost of a pint of beer. Now they may feel the need to forgo the accompanying packet of peanuts too.

Peanut crops have fallen dramatically in 2011 after some of the largest producer countries were hit by droughts, forcing up prices in Europe by 60 per cent.

Michael Dalton, who runs Percy Dalton's Famous Peanut Company, said: "I've never known prices as high as they are today. It will definitely filter through to the supermarkets and pubs with smaller packets costing more." In the US, supermarkets raised the price of jars of peanut butter by almost a third in November.

Mr Dalton added: "Peanuts have been the most popular of the nuts because they were the cheapest. That is changing."

About 23 million tonnes of peanuts are produced around the world every year, in an industry worth $18.5bn. China and India account for about two thirds of the crop, and the latter has been hit by droughts this year.

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