You may still associate it with jam and assume it is packed with sugar, but if you buy the right kind (and fight the urge to eat the whole jar with a spoon), peanut butter can be a beneficial part of a healthy diet.
Pippa Murray, the 27-year-old founder of nut butter brand Pip & Nut, told Business Insider that while older generations still consider peanut butter to be an indulgence, thinking of sugary products like Skippy, the way younger generations look at and eat peanut butter products is shifting.
"Nut butters are high in fat and calories, which isn't a bad thing," she said. "It's like olive oil in that sense. You need to eat it as part of your diet in moderation."
"People still have a fear about fat being a bad thing to eat, but this is starting to shift," she added. "As long as they are good fats, fats can lower your cholesterol, which is the opposite of what many people think nut butters do."
While she had no background in food or drink – she previously worked in production for the Science Museum in London – it was Pip's love of running that inspired to launch Pip & Nut.
"I was completely and utterly addicted to peanut butter, and always had it before running," she said. "I remember noticing around four years ago that most brands had palm oil and sugars, and I didn't agree with it – palm oil is high in saturated fats, and I thought there should be more transparency."
With the trend of clean eating on the rise and the nut butter category growing, she saw an opportunity to launch a natural peanut butter brand. Now, Pip & Nut is the fastest-growing nut butter brand in the UK*.
"Things like bread in supermarkets are in decline, but sales of nut butter and peanut butter are actually increasing," she said. "Yet the sorts of products that sit around it are honeys and jams, which are just packed full of sugar. I was amazed by how huge the market is in the US and thought we needed a brand to bring the category to life."
She also saw an opportunity to experiment with flavors, such as Crunchy Maple or Honey Cinnamon and other nuts, like cashews and almonds, which are packed with Vitamin E, which is good for hair and nails.
"We're similar to Nakd bars, which, for what are quite healthy bars, have flavors that sound more indulgent," she said.
No matter the type of nut or the flavor, she said the way people are eating it is also different, which is partly thanks to influencers and food bloggers.
"Joe Wicks (The Body Coach) uses a lot of nut butter in his cooking which helps in terms of the awareness of the product but also in terms of ways to eat it," she said.
"People put it in their smoothies and in porridge. It's tasty but it's also a good source of protein, so it's good for muscle recovery post-workout."
Murray plans to launch a cookbook in January, titled "The Nut Butter Cookbook," which will feature 70 recipes using nut butters in breakfast and brunch through to savory dishes and drinks.
"My favourite recipe ia toast with chi lli, coriander, and lime on top of peanut butter on toast," she said.
*According to info from ‘Jams, Preserves, Honey & Spreads Category Report January 2016’, The Grocer
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