NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Peanut butter lovers will soon face the brunt of soaring prices as scorching heat and a drought in southern U.S. have ravaged the crop, resulting in zero yield in key producing states this year. On average, Americans spend almost $800 million a year on peanut butter products every year. The average American consumes more than six pounds of peanuts and peanut butter products each year, according to the National Peanut Board.Prices for a ton of runner peanuts, used to make peanut butter, touched $1,200 mid-October, compared to $450 per ton in the same month a year ago, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Peanut production stood at 3.63 billion pounds in 2011, down 13% from last year's 4.16 billion pounds, the Department of Agriculture reveals.
4. The J.M. Smucker Company (SJM - Get Report) manufactures and markets branded food products worldwide, with principal products being coffee, peanut butter, shortening and oils, fruit spreads, canned milk and baking mixes. The company generates a significant portion of its sales in the U.S. SJM will release its second-quarter fiscal 2012 results on November 17. J.M. Smucker, maker of the popular Jif peanut butter, will hike prices almost 30% starting November 8, as this year's peanut harvests have been the worst in decades. Recently, SJM declared a dividend of 48 cents per share on its common stock payable December 1 to shareholders of record November 11. The company has a dividend yield of 2.3%, currently. In the last week of October, SJM announced signing a definitive agreement to acquire a majority of the North American foodservice coffee and hot beverage business of Sara Lee for $350 million, to be paid when the deal closes in early 2012. Also, the company will pay an additional $50 million in declining installments over the next 10 years. For the second quarter of fiscal 2012, a consensus forecast of analysts polled by Bloomberg sees net income of $158.29 million, or $1.40 per share, a sequential 23.9% increase. This compares to $165.28 million, or $1.38 per share, in the second quarter of fiscal 2011. Cash flow per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2012 is forecast to rise to $1.49, compared to 39 cents in the second quarter of fiscal 2011. Year-over-year sales grew 17% to $1.5 billion. Of the 16 analysts covering the stock, 31% recommend a buy and 63% rate it a hold. Data from Bloomberg has analysts forecasting the stock gaining 4.3% to $80.56 in the upcoming 12 months.