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Feb 15, 2012

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One thing we do often as a family is comparison shop, not just because it saves money but it also allows us to be informed consumers so we can use our money as wisely as possible at that given moment.  My child also  gets to practice reading and learns how to analyze the information she acquires to make informed decisions.

A quick comparison of different types of peanut butter from different companies quickly highlights this point. Now, let me preface this blog by saying this review is not going to tell you which peanut butter is the best peanut butter to buy. They all taste great and have different textures and different consistencies.  This post is about noticing those subtle differences between ingredients which can only be realized if you read labels.  If you want to know about what you’re putting in your bodies, you have to read the labels because not all peanut butter is created equal.

Peanut Butter: what does your peanut butter contain?

This blog is proof that as a family, we haven’t always made good food choices.  Some foods and products we bought with the intent of testing them for the site. Other items were purchased because we truly thought they would be something worth buying at that point in time.  For this post, I took photos of 4 different types of peanut butter that are currently sitting in my home from different companies.  I won’t be naming the peanut butter brands because that’s not the point of this post.  If you happen to recognize them, great, if not, no worries. What we hope you’ll notice though are the differences in the ingredients in peanut butter.

Peanut butter 1: it’s made from 100% organic peanuts. On the ingredient list, it says: freshly roasted organic peanuts. That’s it! When you see it on the shelf, you can see a layer of oil that sits on top of the ground peanuts. The separation between peanut and oil is naturally occurring and so when we’re ready to open a new jar of this peanut butter, we usually open it the night before, mix it well from top to bottom and then stick it in the fridge. The next morning, it is perfectly blended and ready to be spread on my toast or bagel. Now, because it has no sugar in it, I’ll often add honey on top for a bit of sweetness. This peanut butter also works equally well in cooking recipes.

Peanut butter 2: This peanut butter also has a very short ingredient list: organic dry roasted peanuts. At the time when I bought this peanut butter on its own, it sounded good because it’s only got peanut butter in it and nothing else. But, now as I’m typing this out, I have to wonder, why does peanut butter 1 say ‘freshly’ and peanut butter 2 does not include the word ‘fresh’? Is it because the peanuts aren’t freshly dried or is it simply an omission on their part? Like peanut butter 1, there’s also the natural separation of the peanut oil with its flesh so we also mix it the night before so that it can be enjoyed for breakfast the next morning.

Peanut butter 3: This brings me to peanut butter 3, made by the same company as peanut butter 2 but with one difference. This one says you don’t have to mix it because it’s already blended. While it’s also made with organic peanuts, the ingredient list is longer: organic peanuts, organic palm oil, organic pure cane sugar, and sea salt. Now, I confess, I bought this but I was duped because I saw the orange label, knew it was organic, assumed it was peanut butter 2 and bought it. It wasn’t until I got home that I realized I had bought the wrong one but now I’m also too lazy to return it (also helps that I can’t find the bill). So, it is now sitting on the shelf and I have no idea what to do with it. It obviously has a more creamy consistency with no need to blend it in advance. My non-scientific guess would be that the additional ingredients somehow emulsified with the peanut butter so that it stays creamy at room temperature.

Peanut butter 4: this jar of peanut butter has a much longer list of ingredients but the one I find most offensive is the hydrogenated vegetable oil. I’m no scientist but I’m guessing the hydrogenated vegetable oil was added to maintain its consistency at room temperature. But, does my body need this if all I want is peanut butter? Now, truth be told, I did not buy this jar of peanut butter and neither did my husband but it end up in our house. Like peanut butter 3, I have no idea what to do with it.

So, which peanut butter will I buy again?

I have decided to buy only peanut butter 1 in the future, if I can help it. Now, you might be saying to yourself, ‘Not everyone can afford to buy peanut butter 1’. Well, the surprising thing is, there have been times when peanut butter 1 was on sale and it was actually cheaper than the other types of peanut butter! Thus, this is why I comparison shop. I’m obviously not going to buy everything at regular price because I’d end up only drinking tap water. Things are just too expensive to do that. But, if I keep my eyes out for the sales and stock up for those things that I can, then I can afford peanut butter 1 when it’s on sale.

Now, let it be known, I’m also lazy so it’s not like I travel to great distances to score a good deal. For me, I think that’s a waste of my precious time when I’d rather be lazy and do something else. Factor in gas prices and travelling great distances doesn’t make sense to me. I comparison shop based on the places that are closest to me and take advantage of the deals that I can access in the here and now rather than go to great lengths to save a buck or two.  So, if I can do it in my lazy way and read labels with my daughter while I’m at it, you can too.

Let me end off this post by stating the obvious. This is my own opinion at about how you can choose peanut butter in your home. If you see this post anywhere else except on my site at, know that I have not consented to having any part of this post (or this website for that matter), to be re-produced, copied, or re-printed anywhere else.   Practice ethical posting!

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