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European consumer goods conglomerate Unilever PLC is considering selling its Skippy peanut butter business based in the United States and Canada. Analysts expect the sale could bring in about $400-million (U.S.). The company said Thursday it is exploring “various options” for the brand as part of a strategic review.
Skippy peanut butter was first sold in 1933 and, according to Unilever, almost 90 million jars are sold each year. It takes about 850 peanuts to make an 18-oz (0.5-kilogram) jar of peanut butter.
A harvester picks up peanuts in Chumuckla, Fla., in this file photo. Most of the peanuts used in Skippy are grown in Georgia, Texas, Florida and Oklahoma. The spread has been produced in a plant in Little Rock, Ark., since 1977.
The price of peanut butter went up by as much as 30 per cent last year, but this year’s record U.S. crop should force a reduction in price over the next few months.
(JENNIFER ROBERTS for The Globe and Mail)
Skippy had annual sales of around $300-million in 2011, but Unilever is expected to re-focus on personal care products such as Dove and Lux, higher growth brands like Knorr and Hellmann’s, and emerging markets. Some of the company’s products are shown here.