Behold the Peanut Renaissance
By Jill Failla
Just in time for National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, SPINS is here to deliver the news: peanuts are enjoying a renaissance in 2018. For a while now, many consumers’ first association with peanuts has been as a common allergen, and experts have recommended delaying the introduction of peanuts to at-risk babies and children. However, the National Institutes of Health announced early last year that a panel of allergy experts recommends that parents introduce peanut-containing foods into the diets of babies as young as 4 to 6 months to reduce the risk of peanut allergies developing.[i]
And this February, the Silicon Valley-based company Aimmune Therapeutics says its scientists administered 500 children with severe peanut allergies (aged 4 to 17) peanut flour capsules or a placebo powder in gradually increasing amounts for six months. The results: two-thirds of the kids (67%) who took the peanut flour were able to tolerate the equivalent of roughly two peanuts at the end of the study, compared to 4% percent of others given a dummy powder.[ii]
Some natural brands are already on board with this idea that peanut flours can help prevent and treat peanut allergies in kids. The recently rebranded Crazy Richard’s now offers 100% Peanut Powder with front-of-label claims that include non-GMO, zero grams trans fats, and no salt or sugar added. On its website, the brand suggests adding a teaspoon of this powder to baby food when an infant is 4 to 6 months old (after consulting a pediatrician). Similarly, Spoonful One offers a powder for baby foods that contains common allergens such as peanuts, other nuts, dairy, and seafood; the brand positions its powder to proactively prepare children to develop immunity instead of allergies to these foods.
Sticking to the kid theme, another peanut product SPINS trendspotters liked at Expo East was P-Nuff Crunch Baked Peanut Puffs. Positioned as a snack for kids, too, the puffs get a front-label claim for their 5 grams of protein and being a good source of fiber, in addition to non-GMO, gluten-free, and vegan callouts.
At Expo West, Chobani announced the induction of peanut puff brand Puffworks into the Chobani Incubator, betting big on the organic corn and peanut snack, which also offers a SKU specifically for babies. The brand cites the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Disease and the American Academy of Pediatrics on its webpage for the baby snacks, citing a study which showed an 80% reduction of peanut allergy development in infants who ate peanut foods.
Not just for kids, Elmhurst Milked introduced the first peanut milk to the U.S. market this past fall, featuring 31 peanuts and 6 grams of protein in every glass. The drink contains just five ingredients – filtered water, peanuts, cane sugar, natural flavors, and salt, and it also comes in a delicious Chocolate variety. The brand touts the peanut milk as offering more protein and less sugar than leading almond milks on the market.
It would also appear that many consumers are just as excited about peanut butter and jelly sandwiches now as they were as kids, with lines forming around the block last month for the new The Peanut Butter & Jelly Deli restaurant in Wisconsin,[iii] which features five varieties of freshly ground nut butters on the menu, along with over 30 proprietary jams and jellies. And the nostalgic peanut butter and jelly combo may be making a comeback as a natural and healthy snacking flavor. This year, Made in Nature launched Nutter & Jelly Figgy Pops “as basically bite-sized versions of childhood’s favorite sandwich,” per the brand’s website.
While this self-proclaimed supersnack contains almond and cashew butter instead of peanut butter, SPINS predicts that more peanut products positioned as superfoods will hit the market soon, alongside further peanut flour innovation in the grocery department, for kids and adults alike.
[i] NIH-sponsored expert panel issues clinical guidelines to prevent peanut allergy. (2017, January 05). Retrieved March 09, 2018, from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-sponsored-expert-panel-issues-clinical-guidelines-prevent-peanut-allergy
[ii] Marchione, M. (2018, February 20). Preventive treatment for peanut allergies succeeds in study. Retrieved March 09, 2018, from http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/health/ct-peanut-allergy-preventive-treatment-20180220-story.html
[iii] Ford-Stewart, J. (2018, March 08). Peanut Butter & Jelly Deli packs in customers since opening in West Allis. Retrieved March 09, 2018, from https://www.jsonline.com/story/communities/southwest/news/west-allis/2018/03/07/peanut-butter-jelly-deli-packs-customers-since-feb-26-opening-west-allis/394676002/