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Old 01-11-2020, 03:08 PM
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Peanut butter mystery


Why is Trader Joe's out of only one kind of peanut butter?

It's their house brand organic PB and comes in 4 flavors: creamy no salt, creamy salted, crunchy no salt, crunchy salted. My local TJ's is out of only creamy no salt, but they have lots of the other three. How could this happen? I mean, if they can make crunchy no salt, they can make creamy no salt by just not adding all the peanut bits. The jars are the same. Maybe they're out of the labels. Or a delivery mixup. I can't think of anything else that it could be. Perhaps I'm lacking imagination here.
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:23 PM
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One WAG is that creamy no-salt is what's often called for in recipes for peanut butter cookies. So TJ's may not have restocked yet after the holiday baking season.
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:32 PM
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Could be anything from ordering wrong to one customer coming in an wiping out the entire stock (which happens more often than you'd think).

I doubt it's a manufacturing error, though that could be easily figured out by calling the next closest store and asking if they have any. Manufacturing problems tend to affect more than a single location.
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Old 01-11-2020, 03:34 PM
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Maybe a herd of elephants with high blood pressure were in town?

Or they may have the infamous "More in the back" that they didn't have time to restock on the shelves.

Before the "Well, if it's so popular, they should stock more on the shelf!" post, as I've posted in other threads, the logistics of product placement and stocking of shelves is a mystery that sometimes the even the store manager isn't clued in to.
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Old 01-11-2020, 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by needscoffee View Post
One WAG is that creamy no-salt is what's often called for in recipes for peanut butter cookies. So TJ's may not have restocked yet after the holiday baking season.
I've been buying this product for years and it hasn't happened before. So that's unlikely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joey P View Post
Could be anything from ordering wrong to one customer coming in an wiping out the entire stock (which happens more often than you'd think).
OK, those are definite possibilities.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
Or they may have the infamous "More in the back" that they didn't have time to restock on the shelves.
Well, maybe. But last week they were almost out and I took the last one. It was way in the back. They didn't put any out in the intervening week. So it's actually for two weeks the shelf was not stocked. It's very unlike them not to stock in that length of time. TJ's, in general, runs too tight a ship to leave things unstocked like that.

In fact, leaving the empty gap for an out of stock item (which they did for this) is unlike them. They usually close them up and remove the sign on the shelf. At least for larger items like cereal boxes. Perhaps they didn't want to do all the shuffling of the jars that would entail.
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Old 01-11-2020, 10:51 PM
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It could also be that they're undergoing or planning inventory which is usually done in January because of year end accounting. I worked for an inventory service for a couple of years and some stores would purposely allow their shelves go low on stock, keeping the unopened boxes in the back where they're easier and cheaper to count as full cases. I've heard stock workers get yelled at for restocking shelves prior to or during inventory.

I don't know how big a store Trader Joe's has, but even the largest stores should take more than a few days to complete inventory.
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Old 01-11-2020, 11:02 PM
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Sometimes stores would even hold off on orders prior to inventory to minimize what needs to be counted. Or the distribution warehouse may be holding off on deliveries. More errors = more recounts = more money spent on store staffing and time the store is closed. Even if it's done during closed hours, the staff has clean up and reset or restock the shelves before reopening.
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Old 01-12-2020, 01:29 AM
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Have you considered the awful possibility that they've discontinued this item?

Well, have you?

How many times in your life have you attempted to buy an item that you had long favored, only to find that, however irrationally, it's been discontinued? If never, you've lived a charmed life.

Not just food: Kitchen utensils, clothing items, ant poison that actually worked, all kinds of things.

WHEN YOU FIND A PRODUCT YOU LIKE, BUY A LIFETIME SUPPLY WHILE YOU CAN, BECAUSE THEY WILL DISCONTINUE IT!!!!!
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Old 01-12-2020, 02:31 AM
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Maybe a herd of elephants with high blood pressure were in town?
I traveled to a southern California town in 2012 for a funeral. Before returning home the next day, I hit the Trader Joe's in the mall across from my motel. I was inside near the front of the store and noticed a tour bus pull up out front. Maybe 40 youngish to middle-age-ish Asian men in casual clothes RAN inside wielding pocket cameras. They dashed about the store photographing everything. I don't recall if they paid special attention to the nut-butter section. Then they ran out, re-boarded, and the bus spun off.

Was the OP's missing peanut butter photo-bombed at some point?
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Old 01-12-2020, 02:35 AM
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I don't know if this is related to the dire circumstances discussed in the OP, but I do know that my local supermarket has not had Jif Extra Chunky peanut butter for about a month! Normally I buy the BIG jar, but if that isn't available, I'll buy several small jars. But since mid December they haven't had ANYTHING but their execrable Creamy version. What am I, a two-year-old? C'mon, Jewel Stores; where is my Extra Chunky Jif?
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Old 01-12-2020, 06:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
Have you considered the awful possibility that they've discontinued this item?
They definitely would not have left the gap on the shelves if that were the case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim R. Mortiss View Post
I don't know if this is related to the dire circumstances discussed in the OP, but I do know that my local supermarket has not had Jif Extra Chunky peanut butter for about a month! Normally I buy the BIG jar, but if that isn't available, I'll buy several small jars. But since mid December they haven't had ANYTHING but their execrable Creamy version. What am I, a two-year-old? C'mon, Jewel Stores; where is my Extra Chunky Jif?
As far as I can tell, creamy tastes exactly the same as crunchy, but it spreads much easier and smoother. I wish TJ's also had big jars of it, since I buy so much. All they have is one pounders.
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Old 01-12-2020, 08:40 AM
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I have nothing to add other than Peanut Butter Mystery would be a great band name.
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Old 01-12-2020, 09:21 AM
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Amazon carries it.


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Old 01-12-2020, 09:47 AM
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Amazon carries it.
Certainly do... at $18.99 for a 2 pack of 1 pound jars. I pay $3.49/jar at the store. Think I'll skip amazon for this one.
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Old 01-12-2020, 11:04 AM
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Did you ask the store manager or somebody else that works there? If an item I regularly bought was unstocked for two weeks, I sure as heck would ask, especially during the part when they (not everyone, but it's a common quesiton -- Don't know if TJ does it, but I think they do) ask you "did you find everything you need?"
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Old 01-12-2020, 11:38 AM
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I may ask the next time I go there, if it's still not stocked. It's a matter of convenience as to whether I ask; I rarely go way out of my way to ask about missing items. The last time I asked about a missing item (my favorite kind of cereal), they said it'd be back in mid-October. It actually returned in early December.

But hey, it's not like I'm being deprived of PB. I bought the crunchy kind and, as I said, it tastes the same as smooth. I was just wondering about the mystery of how they can have crunchy but not smooth.
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Old 01-12-2020, 11:43 AM
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If you've been out of your favorite PB for two weeks, with no end to the drought in sight, then buying exorbitantly priced PB on Amazon is allowed.

That's what my husband justifies as a " 'Mergency."

If Trader Joe's continually puts you in 'Mergency status, then it's time to buy peanuts in 50-pound bags and using a food processor to make your own.


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Old 01-12-2020, 11:54 AM
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I was just wondering about the mystery of how they can have crunchy but not smooth.
Itís not improbable that the two varieties are made at different plants or even by different manufacturers. Generic and store brands (and even name brands, sometimes) are just farmed out to the lowest bidder. If thereís a bottleneck, a plant or packager will favor itís bigger clients. A more widely distributed client lake Jiff or Peter Pan will get priority over a regional one like TJs.
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Old 01-12-2020, 12:20 PM
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Who's gonna steal the peanut butter
I'll get the can of sardines
Runnin' up and down the aisle of the Trader Joe's
Stickin' food in our jeans
We never took more than we could eat
There was plenty left on the racks (oops!)
We all swore if we ever got rich
We would pay the Trader Joe's back
Yes sir...Yes sir
We would pay the Trader Joe's back


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Old 01-13-2020, 10:45 AM
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The logistics of that peanut butter getting to your store is pretty complex. Odds are, somewhere a truck didn’t arrive where/when it should have, and it is likely to affect things for weeks. Most stores don’t make “emergency” orders to fix things like that. They rely on regular shipments to eventually even it all out. But especially if it is not a high demand item, and shipments are small, those who like you missed it, and see it on the shelf after the first delivery, might buy a lot more than usual, so when you show up 2 days later, it looks like TJ is “still” out. Repeat for a couple more weekly trucks.
It worked like that when we had a newfound demand for (has to be TJ) cashew butter, anyway.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Elmer J. Fudd View Post
Itís not improbable that the two varieties are made at different plants or even by different manufacturers. Generic and store brands (and even name brands, sometimes) are just farmed out to the lowest bidder. If thereís a bottleneck, a plant or packager will favor itís bigger clients. A more widely distributed client lake Jiff or Peter Pan will get priority over a regional one like TJs.
A couple years back a TJ staple we buy, the steak and stout pie, was off the shelf and remained so for about six months. A couple months into the period, when the cashier asked her, "Did you find everything you wanted?" I replied that I really missed the S&S pies. She said, "From what I understand, we're looking for a new supplier."

I'm guessing I wasn't the first to complain.
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:59 AM
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On a side note, it's amazing to me that most peanut butters have their peanut oil removed and replaced with cheaper oils. It seems the companies makes more money selling the peanut oil off separately.
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Old 01-13-2020, 12:33 PM
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That's one reason I buy TJ's. It has only one ingredient: Valencia peanuts. Which means the oil in it comes from those peanuts that were ground up. They're not the only brand with this property, but you have to check the ingredient list to make sure.
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Old 01-13-2020, 01:05 PM
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A few weeks back I was in Walmart and they were completely out of the large containers of chunky and/or extra chunky PB. Jif, Skippy, house brand, all of the large containers were sold out.
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:19 PM
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Re: Peanut products and no salt.

I eat roasted peanuts sans salt.

Of course this means our local store is out of that, and only that, more often than not.

In addition, they put the jars of peanuts on the bottom shelf. So I have to get down on my hands and knees to look at the back of the shelf to see if they are any jars hidden there. Fun and dignified!

As a computer person I just marvel at how computerized inventory track and just-in-time delivery has made running out of products at stores a thing of the past!
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:43 PM
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Certainly do... at $18.99 for a 2 pack of 1 pound jars. I pay $3.49/jar at the store. Think I'll skip amazon for this one.
There ya go. They're being bought up and offered online for at least a 272% markup.
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:03 PM
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I've seen TJ's plagued from time to time with recalls; I once had to take back several jars of almond butter because of possible listeria contamination. They may have had a problem with the supplier for that product going south on them, and they're still cleaning the gunk out of the works.
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Old 01-13-2020, 06:06 PM
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if they can make crunchy no salt, they can make creamy no salt by just not adding all the peanut bits. The jars are the same. Maybe they're out of the labels.
I highly doubt that there manufacturing the peanut butter in the backroom of your Trader Joes.
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:00 PM
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I highly doubt that there manufacturing the peanut butter in the backroom of your Trader Joes.
Never said they were. Nor did I mean to suggest they were. "They" in this case, meant whoever TJ's contracted with to make it. I figured most people were aware that house brands are made under contract by someone else.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:09 AM
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To whom it may be of interest: Another good brand of "natural" peanut butter is Adams (no relation to the former Guru of the Dope, as far as I know). Comes in the usual 4 varieties: Crunchy or creamy (ingredients: Peanuts and a little bit of salt), and the same salt-free (ingredient: Peanuts). Not all 4 varieties are always available at all locations.

As with other "natural" PB brands, the oil separates, so you have to stir it. And once opened, you have to refrigerate it. When refrigerated, the oil doesn't separate again.
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Old 01-14-2020, 01:47 AM
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I am now craving peanut butter, extra-crunchy. I'll have to head to TJ's tomorrow. I'll post if they have creamy, no salt.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:57 AM
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Never said they were. Nor did I mean to suggest they were. "They" in this case, meant whoever TJ's contracted with to make it. I figured most people were aware that house brands are made under contract by someone else.
I think it's most likely something to do with this.

I remember having to go four weeks with out my Tums because of a supplier issue. I even tried to look for it at other stores to no avail.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:25 AM
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To whom it may be of interest: Another good brand of "natural" peanut butter is Adams (no relation to the former Guru of the Dope, as far as I know). Comes in the usual 4 varieties: Crunchy or creamy (ingredients: Peanuts and a little bit of salt), and the same salt-free (ingredient: Peanuts). Not all 4 varieties are always available at all locations.

As with other "natural" PB brands, the oil separates, so you have to stir it. And once opened, you have to refrigerate it. When refrigerated, the oil doesn't separate again.
Adams is our go-to PB and you can get it for a lot less at Winco. We (when I say we, I mean "I") eat a lot of PB. I have carpal tunnel from so many years of stirring the big glass jars.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:05 PM
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An additional factor that I might suggest is to point out that salt is a preservative. Any salt-free, organic PB is probably going to have a much shorter shelf-life so they can't just stock loads of it in the back to replace what's on the shelves if there's a run for it.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Senegoid View Post
To whom it may be of interest: Another good brand of "natural" peanut butter is Adams (no relation to the former Guru of the Dope, as far as I know). Comes in the usual 4 varieties: Crunchy or creamy (ingredients: Peanuts and a little bit of salt), and the same salt-free (ingredient: Peanuts). Not all 4 varieties are always available at all locations.

As with other "natural" PB brands, the oil separates, so you have to stir it. And once opened, you have to refrigerate it. When refrigerated, the oil doesn't separate again.
Adams creamy with salt is our go-to peanut butter. I know it says you're supposed to refrigerate after opening, but we literally never do. Refrigerating makes it difficult to spread, and also makes it cold (which I hate). I have never had it go bad. The "worst part is you might have to stir it up a little if you haven't used it in a while (which never happens at our house.)
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:20 PM
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Bacteria can't grow in pure peanut butter (it's too dry), so the only way it goes bad is if the peanut oil goes rancid. That means it's oxidizing and it takes a while to do that. You have to be a really slow consumer of PB to have it go rancid.

Having to stir it occasionally may be an issue with some people, but I'm another who eats it so fast that it doesn't have a chance to do that.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:00 PM
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An additional factor that I might suggest is to point out that salt is a preservative. Any salt-free, organic PB is probably going to have a much shorter shelf-life so they can't just stock loads of it in the back to replace what's on the shelves if there's a run for it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dtilque View Post
Bacteria can't grow in pure peanut butter (it's too dry), so the only way it goes bad is if the peanut oil goes rancid. That means it's oxidizing and it takes a while to do that. You have to be a really slow consumer of PB to have it go rancid.

Having to stir it occasionally may be an issue with some people, but I'm another who eats it so fast that it doesn't have a chance to do that.
Chalk that theory off, then.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:57 PM
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I was doing my routine shopping in the local Trader Joe's today and thought of the OP. While we are not consumers of TJ's peanut butter, I was compelled to go down that aisle and check out the stock. I'd like to report that my neighborhood Trader Joe's had all 4 varieties.
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:58 AM
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I've had name brand peanut butter go bad. Don't remember which brand because it's all the same to me. It was some kind of "natural" stuff. First it separated almost immediately and wasn't creamy, then a few months later it was obviously rancid smelling. It said to refrigerate after opening (I think they all say that) and my place is really hot during the day, I have to keep my A/C on all year round when I'm home.

Edit: I think it was Jif

Last edited by lingyi; 01-15-2020 at 02:00 AM.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:39 AM
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A few months is enough time for PB to become rancid. Refrigeration might retard that, but probably not by much. The reason they say to refrigerate is to keep the oil from separating out again. That instruction is usually only on the ones without emulsifiers. Apparently that's what the makers of Jif think means "Natural", but notice that it is only 90% peanuts. Not sure what the other 10% is, but that's not what I consider to be natural. (I'm not going to say what I really think of Jif, but let's say words like "toxic" and "sludge" may be used.)
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Old 01-15-2020, 11:23 AM
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Just learned about Jif Singles and ordered it on Amazon. Even if half go bad, probably still a better deal for me as I've been craving a PB&J, but don't want to buy a whole bottle.
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:10 PM
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I just buy little bitty jars at the dollar store. Even if it goes rancid because I'm eating it intermittently, there's no twinge at throwing out the remains.
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Old 01-16-2020, 05:13 PM
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Just in case anyone is wondering, I went to the store this week and they did have creamy unsalted. Yaay!
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