The Great Debate: Creamy vs. Crunchy Peanut Butter

We’re all pretty familiar with the classic food feuds that push us into divided camps (with strongly held, unwavering opinions): whether or not pineapple belongs on pizza; the validity of mint chocolate chip as an ice cream flavor; or which is the ultimate cola, Coke or Pepsi. The list goes on, but we’ll spare you. The point is, we all know where we fall in these debates and which side we’re on just may glean some interesting insight into our food preferences. After all, food is in fact highly personal. So, we thought we’d take a closer look at one of these very debates: creamy vs. crunchy peanut butter (of course). So, grab a spoon and let’s dig in!

Let’s Break It Down 

Before we get into what your choice in texture of America’s most iconic spread may mean for and say about you, it seems worthwhile to lay out all the facts as they pertain to the two alternatives. According to Wikipedia (feel free to take with a grain of salt — like in your favorite peanut butter), here lies the distinction: The two main types of peanut butter are crunchy (or chunky) and smooth (or creamy). In crunchy peanut butter, some coarsely-ground peanut fragments are included to give extra texture. Sometimes the texture is emphasized in marketing with words like “Super Chunk” or “Extra Crunchy”. The peanuts in smooth peanut butter are ground uniformly, creating a homogenous spread like butter.

While homogenous spread might not win the award for most appetizing descriptor, creamy peanut butter is preferred by the majority of Americans — although it’s pretty close. According to our trusty hub of information on all things peanut butter, The National Peanut Board, 56% prefer creamy to crunchy. As for our own audience, we found a whopping 69% prefer creamy. Not only that, but it also notes that creamy is the texture of choice for most women and children, with the opposite being true for men

Why Creamy (Barely) Takes the Cake 

While it may be by a close margin, it’s clear that Americans tend to prefer the smooth texture and mouthfeel of the classic creamy peanut butter. But why is that? We also know that we have a special place in our hearts for all kinds of crunchy foods, from potato chips to popcorn. And this makes sense, given crunchier, crispier foods tend to signal freshness. Since many of the crunchy, crispy foods we love fall into savory territory, however, it may make sense why creamy peanut butter is so popular. See, peanut butter is one of the few foods that so effortlessly bridges the sweet and the savory, marrying rich nuttiness with a hint (or sometimes more) of sugar. 

When we think about some of the most popular use cases of that classic spread, we can also understand why creamy comes out on top. Spreading a thick layer on bread, licking from the spoon, and dolloping into desserts are tasks all made easier when using creamy peanut butter. And let’s be honest: when you’re standing in the kitchen at 1am, half asleep with a spoon in one hand, looking for the perfect late-night snack, ease and simplicity are top of mind. A.k.a. smooth, creamy PB. 

And while we’re really focused on unbiased information here, we couldn’t quite escape the unending string of strongly held convictions when it comes to creamy vs. crunchy. Just think of it as the (peanut butter) icing on the cake. Here are some of our favorites:

As you can see, peanut butter lovers abound in their preference for both creamy and crunchy. But, just like the majority, we’re sticking with the smooth, creamy goodness with the launch of our nut-free peanut butter early next year. To all those in favor of the crunchy alternative, may we suggest spreading some on our cacao-free chocolate bar, also to be released in 2022? 

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