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PeanutButterProblem 04-16

Peter Pan faces tough comeback

OMAHA, Neb. — When Peter Pan peanut butter returns to stores in July, some consumers’ first thoughts will undoubtedly be about this year’s salmonella outbreak and total recall of the brand.

"I would be hesitant" to buy Peter Pan, college student Kevin Akerson said while grocery shopping in Omaha recently.

The company that makes Peter Pan, ConAgra Foods Inc., will have to find ways to convince consumers like Akerson that its peanut butter is safe.

But consumers like Audrey M. Wright, who have missed Peter Pan since it disappeared from stores in mid-February, give the company hope.

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"We had to throw out a jar of Peter Pan with regrets," said Wright, who was shopping in the same west Omaha Hy-Vee grocery store Akerson was. "I like ConAgra."

The Omaha-based food company won’t discuss the details of its Peter Pan marketing plan for competitive reasons, but ConAgra is eager to win back consumers after the outbreak that sickened more than 400 people and spawned numerous lawsuits.

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