Tag Archives: peanut butter

A Guide to Tree Nut–Free Peanuts and Peanut Butters

You can spend as much time as you’d like combing through Google results; you won’t find much in the way of information on tree nut–free peanut products. I’ve been complaining about this for a while (and I’ve blogged about it before, no doubt) but I figure it’s probably time to actually do something about the issue.

So…I have. I reached out to approximately half a billion peanut and peanut butter companies, and this post is the result. I’ve only included companies that are reasonably allergy-friendly, so if a brand’s not on this list, I’ve either never come across it or I’ve come across it and found that it’s probably not a viable option for those with nut allergies. (Or! A handful of stick-in-the-mud customer-service representatives have kept me from being able to find out much of anything about a company’s facilities. That happens a lot, actually.)

The products that have made this list are peanuts and peanut butters that probably won’t kill you…if you’re allergic to tree nuts and tree nuts alone, that is. And if you can’t eat peanuts (or if you’re in the mood for a change of pace), scroll down to the bottom of this guide for a section on other nut-free spreads.

(Looking for tree nuts free from cross contamination with other tree nuts?)

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Peanut Butter & Co.

A jar of White Chocolate Wonderful peanut butter

I spent last Friday on Roosevelt Island. Please don’t ask why; I really have no idea. Around the third hour, though, I ended up at Gristedes, the island’s only real supermarket. (There’s also a deli, a Duane Reade, and a natural market of sorts. For anything else, you have to travel.) None of this is relevant, of course—but Roosevelt Island is Twilight Zone–weird, so…I guess I wanted to mention where I was.

It was there, at that overpriced and poorly reviewed Gristedes, that I finally decided it was time to pick up a jar of this expensive-ass peanut butter.

I hated this stuff as a kid. I really did. I always thought it was gritty, bland, and generally unpleasant—though that didn’t quite stop me from trying every flavor I could find. I’m not sure whether it’s changed or I have, but…something‘s different, because I absolutely love this peanut butter.

A lot of tree nut–allergic people—especially those with a history of reacting to traces—express frustration with finding peanut butter made in a peanut-only facility. I usually eat Skippy (which, as far as I know, isn’t made in a peanut-only facility), but I know plenty of nut-allergic people for whom brands like Skippy aren’t an option, so I figured it was probably worth looking into some other companies.

One of the companies on my list was Peanut Butter & Co. Prior to my Roosevelt Island adventure, I’d sent them an email, and their reply was as follows:

Our peanut butter is manufactured in a facility that only processes peanuts. While many of our other products like jams, jellies, and peanut snacks may not contain tree nuts or seeds in the ingredient list, some are processed in facilities that also process tree nuts and seeds. Please check the label of the individual product you are inquiring about for more information.

Really, that was the answer I was looking for. But given how much I’d hated their peanut butter as a kid—and given that I’ve never seen a jar of it on sale for less than $5—it wasn’t as if I was ready to sprint to the supermarket and pick some up. It comes as no real surprise, then, that I had to be so hungry on such a strange island for this stuff to even begin to appeal to me.

Anyway…I bought some. I chose White Chocolate Wonderful, because white chocolate and I tend to get along pretty well. The jar cost $5.99, which made me sort of angry—but once I got my spoon (okay, finger) in there, all my anger dissolved. It wasn’t gritty or bland like I remembered; instead, it was smooth and flavorful—though not unpleasantly sweet, which I’d expected it to be.

Honestly, it’s really fucking good, and I feel a little bad for spending the last 10 years hating on this stuff. What’s done is done, though. I’ll guess I’ll have to right my wrong by overspending on Peanut Butter & Co.’s peanut butter till I’m sick of the stuff.

Find Peanut Butter & Co. everywhere: Gristedes, Whole Foods, Stop & Shop, Duane Reade, Food Emporium, Citerella…and a whole bunch of other places, too.

[Edit: After some further consideration, I’ve decided that Peanut Butter & Co.’s is probably my favorite all-purpose peanut butter. White Chocolate Wonderful, which tastes nothing like white chocolate, but rather which tastes like a standard sweetened peanut butter, is like an upgraded Skippy, and Dark Chocolate Dreams, which is ridiculously rich—like brownie batter, honestly—is perfect for finger-licking.]

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Skippy P.B. Bites: an astonishingly decent snack

Two packages of Skippy P.B. Bites, one pretzel and one peanut butter

Quick post, because a) this is unimportant, b) these aren’t guaranteed to be nut-free, and c) a bunch of you are probably allergic to peanuts anyway. But I’ve finally found these elusive P.B. Bites after looking just about everywhere for weeks, so you’re going to have to hear about them.

Allergen information first. P.B. Bites (obviously) contain peanuts, but as far as I can tell, they don’t contain nuts. The allergen information on Skippy’s product information page is as follows: “Milk ingredients present, Peanuts (groundnuts) ingredients present, Soy ingredients present, Wheat ingredients present, Gluten present.” I reached out to Skippy to make sure their products were free of all traces of tree nuts, but they never got back to me. Anyway, I know this isn’t much of a guarantee—but I’ve been eating Skippy’s peanut butter for my entire life, and I’ve never had any sort of allergic reaction.

[Edit: I ended up hearing back from Skippy a few days after publishing this post. I was told that tree nuts are present in the facility in which P.B. Bites are made, but that they aren’t processed on the same equipment, and that Skippy has a HACCP program in place to prevent cross-contamination. Their actual peanut butter is made in a peanut-only facility, though.]

Anyway, I apparently become extremely impressionable the second any sort of food shows up on my TV. I’m not even that into peanut butter, but for some reason, when I saw the ad for these, my pupils turned to spirals and I figured I just had to have them. I used Skippy’s product locator (well, it’s Hormel’s, but whatever), but none of the stores I went to had the stupid things, so I gave up and ordered some from Walmart. Of course, within a day of stopping my search, I spotted them—on a routine trip to Fairway. Go figure.

The anatomy of the P.B. bite is very simple—it’s just a little ball of either pretzel or peanut butter, covered in a layer of smooth peanut butter. Both varieties are fine, really, though the pretzel may be a bit better, due to the added salt and crunch factors. Honestly, I was expecting both varieties to be terrible (though that didn’t make my search any less urgent), but terrible they are not. In fact, they’re astonishingly decent.

That’s about all I have to say, really. I’m just a sucker for new (junk) food products—especially when I can eat them. And these just happen to be all right.

(I’m not even going to pretend I know where you can get your hands on some P.B. Bites of your very own; Skippy’s product locator was decidedly unhelpful—probably because these things are so new. Amazon has them for an absurd price of $12 per 6-ounce cup, and you can order them from Walmart for $3.13 per cup, though the shipping costs more than the P.B. Bites themselves. If you can find them, though—and if you like peanut butter—they’re worth a try. Good luck.)

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