Peanut suppliers are facing soaring prices and a supply crunch just ahead of the busy Christmas season as a result of bad weather and poor harvests in key growing regions.

The wholesale price of peanuts from the US has almost doubled from just over £1,000/tonne at the beginning of 2011 to close to £2,000/tonne, and prices in other important nut-growing regions, such as China, India and Argentina, are also on the rise [Mintec].

Retail prices, too, have started to move upwards. In a basket of peanut products from the multiples, 66% have gone up in price over the past year, with many peanut lines and peanut butters showing double-digit price increases [].

Graham Hopcraft, MD of HBS Foods, which imports nuts from Argentina, said that although the Argentinian crop had been good, shortages elsewhere meant prices had almost doubled over the past year.

"It's not going to get better until June 2012, when the next crop is due," he said. "With the supply situation as it is, it's a case of either paying for it or not getting it."

Poor weather damaged the US crop last year and this year, the country is facing its smallest harvest since 2006, with volumes set to be down 13% year-on-year to 1.8 million tonnes [USDA]. There have also been problems in other countries, with India, the world's second-biggest peanut grower, reporting a reduced crop.

Mars was unavailable to comment on whether Snickers had been affected, but Kellogg's insisted the supply crisis had not hit Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes.