Our Love Affair With Peanut Butter
It’s no surprise that when it comes to what we choose to eat, we all have our unique — even quirky — preferences. But one universal food truth that seems to have made its way through time and space? Peanut butter reigns supreme.
All it takes is a simple Google search and you’ll be met with a slew of peanut butter-infused headlines ranging from the mundane to the outright absurd — here are some of our favorites 👇:
- The NFL Debates the Perfect Peanut Butter to Jelly Ratio
- Surprising Side Effects of Not Eating Peanut Butter, Says Science
Of course the commentary couldn’t escape Twitter, where many have taken bold stances with their peanut butter preferences.
Peanut butter pickle is a lifestyle that chose me— Phil Hughes (@PJHughes45) September 11, 2019
Even though some of these preferences lean more towards the unorthodox (we're looking at you Phil Hughes), they all have one thing in common: that rich, creamy goodness. And while there is no shortage of such peanut butter-inspired digital rabbit holes to go down, there is also a sizable repository of legitimate research behind our proclivity for PB.
Understanding the Numbers
Before we dive into the why, let’s take a look at just how much we as Americans love our peanut butter. According to the National Peanut Board (yes, that’s a thing), consumption of peanuts has risen 3% in 2021 for a total of 7.9 pounds per person — mostly in the form of that iconic spread.
Not only that, but a survey taken by Peter Pan Simply Ground Peanut Butter noted that on average, Americans will eat almost 3,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches throughout their lives. And assuming the average American lives to be 79 years old, that comes out to almost one per week. Have you had your weekly PB&J yet?
As Americans, we consume more than our fair share of the creamy spread, and these numbers continue to climb, year after year. But seemingly more important than knowing how much we love peanut butter is why we enjoy it so much.
The Peanut’s Monopoly on the Spread Market
It’s not that complicated: conceivably, any nut can turn into a smooth, creamy paste (and many have tried). But none have been able to capture our hearts quite like that of the humble peanut. Just take a look at this 1966 advertisement for Skippy. By now, peanut butter has proved itself the top choice among millions, most notably for its taste and versatility. What started out as an affordable wartime kitchen staple has become the crux of countless recipes, after school snacks, and midnight indulgences.
With a variety of peanut butters on the market, from your ultra-creamy classics like Skippy and Jif peanut butter to your more natural, modern-day brands like Justin’s, it seems there is something for everyone. But this isn’t entirely true. For one of the most popular and widely consumed foods, traditional peanut butter is one that many — namely the approximately 4 million Americans with peanut allergies — simply cannot enjoy.
Loved By All, Inaccessible to Many
Now, we know it’s no secret that many suffer from peanut — and other nut — allergies. As one of the most common food allergies, having an aversion to the peanut is well-known and widely documented. But this doesn’t mean that the peanut butter industry as a whole has quite kept up with the demand for a delicious, creamy, and peanut-y spread that satisfies and keeps us safe.
To date, the alternative spread market is saturated with unique flavor and texture combinations sidestepping the infamous peanut. This includes, but is not limited to: almond butter, sunflower seed butter, cashew butter, soy butter, and even granola butter. So while it may seem that options are aplenty, most of the current alternatives miss the mark on taste or texture — with many missing both. On top of that, many of the offerings exist at a price point that is neither accessible nor sustainable for the majority of consumers — and those that are price competitive often leave much to be desired.
This begs the question on many allergy sufferers’ minds — when will there be a spread that checks (and exceeds) all the boxes for flavor, texture, and price? Because let’s be honest: if peanut butter — one of the most iconic and beloved American foods — has been around for as long as it has and yet so many are unable to enjoy the very qualities that make us consume it by the spoonful, there’s a problem.
A New Kind of Solution We All Can Love
Luckily, that’s one problem we’re working to solve at Voyage Foods. See, we believe that the barriers around taste and cost effectiveness of peanut butter shouldn’t exist — for those allergic to peanuts, those who shop for them, and everyone in between. By operating at the nexus of the best in flavor, spot-on texture, and cost effectiveness, we’re able to leverage key techniques used in traditional food production combined with innovative technology to create a spread that can be savored by everyone — without fear, risk, or disappointment.
Our soon-to-be-released nut-free peanut butter allows us to continue our love affair with peanut butter, but with a bit of an upgrade. Because the best kind of relationship leaves us feeling safe and satisfied — even if it is the one we have with our favorite jar of PB.