World Cup ‘Peanut Gallery’ Boosts Sales of Brazil Snack

With less than a month before the kick-off of the soccer World Cup, Brazil’s peanut industry is expecting the flood of tourists, combined with the country’s tradition of pairing the snack with beer during matches, to drive up sales.

While demand for peanuts usually grows during the World Cup, the industry expects to sell even more when Brazil hosts the event. Sales may swell as much as 30 percent from 2013’s June-July period, said Andre Guedes, vice-president at the Cocoa, Chocolate, Peanut and Candies Manufacturers Association. Growth during the 2010 World Cup was about 24 percent.

“We have studies that show 66 percent of Brazilians eat peanuts during celebration times, including when watching sports,” Guedes said in a phone interview from Rio de Janeiro. “Companies have invested to meet the excess demand”.

While the demand is expected to grow, Brazil’s peanut output is expected to decline 2 percent from last season’s crop to 320 million tons, according to a May forecast by the Brazilian government crop agency Conab.

Average prices for a 50-kilogram bag (110 pounds) dropped by 0.5 percent in April from a year earlier, according to the Institute of Agricultural Economics in Sao Paulo state.

Sao Paulo, Brazil’s top peanut grower, usually exports 80 percent of its crop, according to Conab. With the added demand, more peanuts will be available for the domestic market, said Guedes. “Growers have assured us that they will have enough for the industry.”

Brazil’s national team head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari used the expression “peanut gallery” to describe a group of fans who frequently criticized his decisions when he was the head of the Sao Paulo-based club Palmeiras.

According to Guedes, the new “peanut gallery” will be supporting the national team. “Their success is important to us too, so we will be together.”

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