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Lance Foods works to keep wary customers during PB recall

The Nielsen Company estimates peanut butter sales were down nearly 25 percent in January as a result of the salmonella scare and nationwide recall on a growing list of snack products, which makes Lance Foods CEO Dave Singer very nervous. He says peanut butter crackers are the Charlotte company's most profitable product and 20 percent of its business: "We anticipate if we don't get this turned around, if consumers aren't sure that they can eat our product, it will hurt us," says Singer. He says it's possible an ongoing recall could cost Lance Foods as much as one million dollars a month. Hence: the new website intended to assure customers; the half page ad Lance ran in 50 major newspapers last week; and the YouTube video in which Singer explains that Lance buys its peanuts direct from farmers and makes all of its own peanut butter products at a plant that has not been implicated in the salmonella outbreak. But will squeamish consumers get the message? Singer hopes it will help that his two largest competitors have been pulled from shelves, leaving more market opportunity for Lance.