Peanut Butter for the Hungry


The peanut, while grown in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, is native to the Western Hemisphere. It probably originated in South America and spread throughout the New World as Spanish explorers discovered the peanut’s versatility. When the Spaniards returned to Europe, peanuts went with them. Later, traders were responsible for spreading peanuts to Asia and Africa. The peanut made its way back to North America on sailing ships in the 1700’s. Although there were some commercial peanut farms in the U.S. during the 1700’s and 1800’s, peanuts were not grown extensively. This lack of interest in peanut farming is attributed to the fact that the peanut was regarded as food for the poor and because growing and harvesting techniques were slow and difficult. Until the Civil War, the peanut remained basically a regional food associated with the southern U.S.

about peanuts-peanutsAfter the Civil War, the demand for peanuts increased rapidly. By the end of the nineteenth century, the development of equipment for production, harvesting and shelling peanuts, as well as processing techniques, contributed to the expansion of the peanut industry. The new twentieth century labor-saving equipment resulted in a rapid demand for peanut oil, roasted and salted peanuts, peanut butter and confections.

The peanut, while grown in tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, is native to the Western Hemisphere. It probably originated in South America and spread throughout the New World as Spanish explorers discovered the peanut’s versatility. When the Spaniards returned to Europe, peanuts went with them. Later, traders were responsible for spreading peanuts to Asia and Africa. The peanut made its way back to North America on sailing ships in the 1700’s. Although there were some commercial peanut farms in the U.S. during the 1700’s and 1800’s, peanuts were not grown extensively. This lack of interest in peanut farming is attributed to the fact that the peanut was regarded as food for the poor and because growing and harvesting techniques were slow and difficult. Until the Civil War, the peanut remained basically a regional food associated with the southern U.S.

about peanuts-peanutsAfter the Civil War, the demand for peanuts increased rapidly. By the end of the nineteenth century, the development of equipment for production, harvesting and shelling peanuts, as well as processing techniques, contributed to the expansion of the peanut industry. The new twentieth century labor-saving equipment resulted in a rapid demand for peanut oil, roasted and salted peanuts, peanut butter and confections.

The American Peanut Council (APC) is the trade association which represents all segments of the peanut industry. Members include peanut growers, peanut shellers, brokers, peanut product manufacturers, and suppliers of goods and services to the industry.

Headquartered in the metropolitan Washington, DC area, the APC monitors developments in the domestic and international markets and responds with a diverse array of domestic and international marketing, trade servicing, food safety, research and issues management programs. The APC maintains close working relationships with government agencies, research institutions and related peanut and agricultural trade associations.

The APC serves its members by supporting the general health & welfare of the peanut industry. Our specific charge is to:

  • Provide a forum for all industry segments to exchange & process information
  • Provide leadership in Issues Management
  • Serve as ‘The Voice’ for the industry
  • Promote the consumption of US peanuts internationally
  • Fund, monitor, and prioritize selected research that affects the peanut industry

APC produces several publications for its members.  Periodically, the APC conducts market research to monitor consumer awareness of peanuts and peanut products in foreign markets. The APC also holds seminars and workshops on a wide range of technical, food safety and issues management topics. Through industry task force teams, the APC has developed standardized regulations for the use of tote bags and bar codes. In addition, a Winter Conference and the Annual USA Peanut Congress bring together all industry segments to discuss issues of  of mutual concern and strategies for the future.

APC leads the industry in developing best practices and training on food safety and represents the industry in crisis management – providing industry, government, media and consumers with answers to their questions on food safety issues.

APC’s Export Division, composed of peanut growers, peanut shellers and representatives of the National Peanut Board, administers the U.S. peanut industry’s export market development program. APC’s European headquarters in London, U.K., maintains contact with European customers and oversees European public relations agencies conducting promotional programs on behalf of U.S. peanuts in the key European markets. Efforts include dissemination of research results and information that demonstrates the positive health and nutritional attributes as well as the superior quality of USA peanuts. Representatives in Mexico and Canada conduct trade servicing, market research and public relations activities in those markets as well.

In addition to market promotion activities, APC’s Export Division works closely with worldwide peanut associations and international organizations to monitor technical issues and regulatory actions which could impact on the peanut trade. In cooperation with U.S. and international organizations, APC participates in discussions regarding international trade regulations in order to ensure that international standards reflect commercial practicalities.

Peanuts are a versatile source of nutrition. Considerable research is now underway to provide information on the role peanuts can play in a healthy diet.


Health n NutritionPeanuts are a Power Food!

Peanuts and peanut butter are protein powerhouses providing over 10% of the U.S. recommended daily intake (RDI) per 1 ounce (28g) serving of peanuts or 2 tablespoons (23g) of peanut butter. In addition to protein, peanuts are packed with important vitamins and minerals, including resveratrol found in the skins. Not only are peanuts a nutritional powerhouse, but confer many health and nutritional benefits.

Peanuts move into the health spotlight

World scientific and consumer interest in peanuts as part of healthy eating patterns continues to grow. Yet not too many years ago, peanuts were on “don’t eat” lists for many people in the developed world. That’s because conventional nutrition advice judged foods one-dimensionally and  this influenced the public to focus mainly on their fat and calorie content. How times change. Over the past two decades, nutrition research has made big strides in understanding the health characteristics of different types of fat, leading to a clearer understanding of the beneficial role of unsaturated fats (the type overwhelming found in peanut products) particularly for heart health.  

For the American peanut industry and its worldwide customers, nutritional investigations and support for health and food services professionals and consumers wanting to learn more about peanuts have been spearheaded by The Peanut Institute and supported by many industry groups.

Claims and Guidelines

The United States approved a qualified health claim as early as 2003 for peanuts based around heart-healthy fats. In 2011, the European Union took this further by approving a health claim for foods such as peanuts, peanut butter made from 100% peanuts and peanut oil reflecting the heart healthy characteristics of the unsaturated fatty acids (predominantly monounsaturated oleic acid as found in olive oil) in these products. APC led the work which resulted in the European health claim for healthy fats found in such foods as peanuts, peanut butter and peanut oil and is able to advise users of US peanuts about communications and labelling implications of health and nutrition claims applying to peanut products.

Nutrient density – a new consensus

A new consensus is forming around the nutrient density of foods. That means seeing the nutritional attractiveness of a food in terms of the types and ratios of fat it contains plus macro and micro-nutrients per serving - rather than just calories. From that perspective, peanuts have clearly moved center stage and into the health spotlight.

The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 recommend foods like peanuts because they are high protein packages that include healthy fats and nutrients like dietary fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin E, thiamin, and magnesium.   Nutrient dense foods help maintain good nutrition and calorie balance. Research shows that frequent peanut eaters do not gain weight when following a healthy diet and replacing less healthy fats and snacks with peanuts.

Peanut-related health evidence mounts up worldwide

It was only about twenty years ago that the landmark study appeared which described the relationship between eating nuts frequently and lower coronary disease risks – The Adventist Health Study. At that time, scientists advocating more nut consumption were the distinct minority.  It wasn’t until 1998 with the publication by Harvard researchers of results from the first Nurses’ Health Study that nutrition professionals and the media began to take notice. This large, ongoing epidemiological study of thousands of American professional women found frequent nut consumption (about five ounces per week) was associated with the lowest heart disease risks. Since then, the build up of evidence relating peanuts to health benefits has accelerated and the focus has moved beyond just healthy fats.   

Following from the groundbreaking work of the 1990s, the main findings emerging from nutrition research focusing on peanuts in recent years have changed our understanding of key factors related to healthy eating and disease risk reduction. These themes include:

satiety or “hunger management”;

healthy weight control and;

cholesterol levels and heart health.   

Rediscovering the role healthy-fat, high protein foods like peanuts can play in Mediterranean and many types of traditional eating patterns increases their attractiveness and versatility to consumers and health professionals alike. 

Since 2001, APC has tracked major outputs of peanut related nutrition research going on around the world and produced the following summaries for health professionals. 

A Global Review of Peanut Health Studies - July 2009

Peanut Research Update 2005-2008 - December 2008

Peanuts - Surprising Healthy July 2003

Nutrition & Food Science - Volume 32, Number 6, 2002

Nutrition & Food Science - Volume 33, Number 2, 2003

The potential role of peanuts in the prevention of obesity

Future directions for peanut and health research 

The spectrum of new and emerging research related to peanuts and health is broadening quickly. It already reaches beyond the well-established interest in healthy fats by investigating bioactive and anti-inflammatory constituents of peanuts for their health protecting qualities.

Scientific interest is rapidly rising in the polyphenols, phytosterols, amino acids and vitamins and minerals present in peanuts.

The application of this research to produce a better understanding of disease risk reduction practical dietary interventions associated with type two diabetes and some cancers, for example, is likely to be the next big chapter in the peanuts and health story.

The American Peanut Council, on behalf of the entire US peanut industry, is an enthusiastic advocate of these future research directions.  

For more information on resveratrol and this exciting nutrititious discovery, click here. Plus, read below for more exciting discoveries on the peanut nutrition!

APC compiles a regular series of “nutrition news you can use” stories linked to peanut nutrition research themes which are initially published in the APC Newsletter for members (see below).

APC has compiled a comprehensive list of industry buyers and suppliers of peanut products and services. To view, click on the desired category you'd like to see in the list on the right. If you're company is listed here and you see any inaccuracies, please call us at 703-838-9500 to let us know the updated information. 

Kids and TeachersThere are several resources available with tons of information for kids and teachers including lesson plans, information about peanuts, games, cartoons and other fun stuff.  

Kids can learn about the history of peanuts, peanut types, where and how they grow, peanut nutrition and much, much more.

Check out the pages below for lots of fun games  and fun learning.

The American Peanut Council produces several different types of publications for members only:

  • An online weekly media news summary, Peanuts in the Media
  • An online monthly newsletter; American Peanut News
  • Annual publication for new members, USA Peanuts
  • Fast Facts about Peanuts, Peanut Butter and Peanut Products (Contact APC to order extra copies for your clients.)

Click here for information on joining the American Peanut Council. If you are an APC member, please login

USDA ReportsThe USDA posts a variety of bulletins and reports on peanut crop production and progress, prices, stocks and processing, climate and agriculture developments on a regular basis. 

These respective resources are listed below.

World peanut production totals approximately 29 million metric tons per year, with the U.S. being the world’s third largest producer, after China and India. Worldwide peanut exports are approximately 1.25 million metric tons. The U.S. is one of the world’s leading peanut exporters, with average annual exports of between 250,000 and 300,000 metric tons. Argentina and China are other significant exporters, while origins such as India, Vietnam, and several African countries periodically enter the world market depending upon their crop quality and world market demand.

Canada, Mexico and Europe account for over 80% of U.S. exports. Canada is the largest single market for U.S. peanuts.The largest export markets within Europe are the Netherlands, the U.K., Germany, and Spain.

Demand for peanuts in North America and Europe has been steady, although competition within a dynamic snack market continues to put pressure on peanuts to compete with a growing range of products (potato chips, extruded snacks, tree nuts, and baked snacks). In addition, quality specifications, food safety concerns and import requirements continue to require the implementation of improved monitoring and quality control standards at origin. In response to customer demands, U.S. producers, shellers and processors implement oversight and inspection procedures at each stage of production to ensure that the highest quality standards are achieved.

The American Peanut Council manages an export promotion program on behalf of the industry, and utilizes funds from the United States Department of Agriculture's Market Access Promotion Program, as well as the Foreign Market Development Program. These funds are used primarily to focus on the trade, and are targeted to key markets. To learn more, visit the USDA's Foreign Agriculture website at: http://www.fas.usda.gov

export peanut marketWorld peanut production totals approximately 29 million metric tons per year, with the U.S. being the world’s third largest producer, after China and India. Worldwide peanut exports are approximately 1.25 million metric tons. The U.S. is one of the world’s leading peanut exporters, with average annual exports of between 200,000 and 250,000 metric tons. Argentina and China are other significant exporters, while origins such as India, Vietnam, and several African countries periodically enter the world market depending upon their crop quality and world market demand.

Canada, Mexico, Europe, and Japan account for over 80% of U.S. exports. The largest export markets within Europe are the Netherlands, the U.K., Germany, and Spain.

Demand for peanuts in North America and Europe has been steady, although competition within a dynamic snack market continues to put pressure on peanuts to compete with a growing range of products (potato chips, extruded snacks, tree nuts, and baked snacks). In addition, quality specifications, food safety concerns and import requirements continue to require the implementation of improved monitoring and quality control standards at origin. In response to customer demands, U.S. producers, shellers and processors implement oversight and inspection procedures at each stage of production to ensure that the highest quality standards are achieved.

The American Peanut Council manages an export promotion program on behalf of the industry, and utilizes funds from the United States Department of Agriculture's Market Access Promotion Program, as well as the Foreign Market Development Program. These funds are used primarily to focus on the trade, and are targeted to key markets. To learn more, visit the USDA's Foreign Agriculture website at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/.

As a service to our members, APC gathers various export reports regarding domestic peanut and peanut products for year ending and quarter.

 

Technical InformationThe APC provides members with many types of technical information on various topics such as export marketing, eTDE, tote bag specifications, European regulations and market information, peanut grading and specifications, and various types of research.

 

Food SafetyUSA Peanuts: wholesome and safe

In an increasingly competitive global environment, the U.S. peanut industry is devoted to providing the highest possible quality products to domestic and international consumers. U.S. peanut processors follow some of the most stringent food safety practices to ensure that consistency, safety and quality are present in every aspect of USA peanut production.

And as an industry, we continue to improve our food safety knowledge and practices. For instance, in the last two years, the U.S. peanut industry has collaborated with the Food and Drug Administration and Centers of Disease Control to bring the latest information on food safety practices to our industry. We’re also conducting research to better understand and improve thermal inactivation processes to reduce the risk of contaminants even further. It is a complex process – but we are constantly improving.

Food safety is a scientific discipline describing handling, preparation, and storage of food in ways that prevent foodborne illness. This includes a number of routines that should be followed to avoid potentially severe health hazards. Food can transmit disease from person to person as well as serve as a growth medium for bacteria that can cause food poisoning. 

The 2009 revision of the U.S. peanut industry’s Good Management Practices (GMP’s) demonstrates the industry’s commitment to providing safe, wholesome and nutritious peanuts and peanut products to the worldwide consumer. This document is designed to provide guidance to all segments of the peanut industry - from farm to factory. In the increasingly competitive global environment, the U.S. peanut industry is dedicated to providing the highest possible quality products to domestic and international consumers.

AllergyEach year, millions of Americans have allergic reactions to food. Although most food allergies cause relatively mild and minor symptoms, some food allergies can cause severe reactions, and may even be life-threatening. As a result, more and more people are becoming aware of food allergy, making it a subject of increasing public concern.

This section provides information to increase understanding of food allergies and their possible causes, and provides links to even further information.

The U.S. peanut industry conducts research in many areas including peanut allergy causes and cures, peanut production improvement, peanut quality, food safety, and peanut genomics.  The Peanut Foundation, the research arm of the American Peanut Council, is charged with coordinating the Peanut Genomic Initiative and focuses primarily on peanut production research to improve the quality and yields of U.S. peanuts. We strive to satisfy the demands of consumers while enhancing the commercial viability of the peanut industry.

 

Research OverviewThe U.S. peanut industry conducts research in many areas including peanut allergy causes and cures, peanut production improvement, peanut quality, food safety, and peanut genomics.  The Peanut Foundation, the research arm of the American Peanut Council, is charged with coordinating the Peanut Genomic Initiative and focuses primarily on peanut production research to improve the quality and yields of U.S. peanuts. We strive to satisfy the demands of consumers while enhancing the commercial viability of the peanut industry.

 

Building for the Future

TPF LogoThe Peanut Foundation is a non-profit foundation that directs and supports peanut research, on behalf of all segments of the peanut industry, to:

  • Reduce costs of production and processing
  • Create a safer product
  • TPF FacebookImprove quality
  • Educate the industry and consumers on the benefits of this research

The Peanut Foundation's research strives to satisfy the demands of consumers while enhancing the commercial viability of the peanut industry.

We need your support!  Please consider donating to The Peanut Foundation so that we can continue our research to improve the quality and safety of our peanuts and peanut products.  Download our brochure which contains information on how to make a financial contribution, please click here. 

Research-Photo

Current Directions in Peanut Allergy Research

The American peanut industry actively supports scientific research on effective measures which may reduce or even eliminate peanut allergy in the future. This section summarises major research initiatives on peanut allergens and signposts to sources of further information. This is a rapidly changing field and visiting the websites of the projects mentioned below is the recommended way to find the latest information.

Disclaimer: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. The information in this section is believed to be correct at the time of publication. The American Peanut Council recommends anyone wishing to find out more about food allergies to make contact with one of the specialist organizations.

SustainabilituyAPC Sustainability Initiative

Peanuts have a great story to tell on sustainability.  The American Peanut Council has set up a task force which is measuring our carbon footprint and other indicators of sustainability throughout our supply chain from the farm through processing and even the life cycle of the packaging of our food products.  The task force will also collaborate on methods to further improve the sustainability of U.S. peanuts and products.

Mission Statement

Sustainability begins at the farm and ends with Americans enjoying high quality peanut products.  The American Peanut Council Sustainability Initiative Task Force will provide a forum for all segments of the U.S. peanut industry to:

  • Exchange ideas and information
  • Agree on goals and methods of measurement
  • Determine needed research in the areas of sustainability

The task force seeks to enhance each industry segment’s competitiveness and profitability by improving sustainability throughout the U.S. peanut industry supply chain, while contributing to a better environment.

Goals and Objectives

It is the Task Force’s goal to forge a clear common understanding of what sustainability means within the peanut industry and to ensure that various constituencies’ (business, academic, consumer) evaluation of peanut sustainability is based on consistent sound science and appropriate principles, as well as provide industry members with goals, tools, and support to incorporate sustainability in their business operations.

APC and the U.S. peanut industry follow and engage in a number of topics and issues ranging from peanut nutrition to international food aid. APC conducts an annual Winter Conference in December and the USA Peanut Congress each June to bring together all industry segments to discuss topics and issues of mutual concern and strategies for the future. In addition, and in cooperation with U.S. and international peanut organizations, APC participates in numerous events and meetings around the world to discuss and address the issues that could impact the peanut industry.  Every two years the APC organizes the international Peanut Forum (IPF) which brings together the worldwide peanut industry from many countries to hear presentations and discussions on topics and events affecting the worldwide trade and consumption of peanuts and peanut products. 

 

International Peanut Forum

Industry TopicsAPC and the U.S. peanut industry follow and engage in a number of topics and issues ranging from  peanut nutrition to international food aid.  APC conducts an annual Winter Conference in December and the USA Peanut Congress each June to bring together all industry segments to discuss topics and issues of mutual concern and strategies for the future.  In addition, and in cooperation with U.S. and international peanut organizations, APC participates in numerous events and meetings around the world to discuss and address the issues that could impact the peanut industry.  Every two years the APC organizes the International Peanut Forum (IPF) which brings together the worldwide peanut industry from many countries to hear presentations and discussions on topics and events affecting the worldwide trade and consumption of peanuts and peanut products. 

IPF Logo web

The dates and location for the 2018 International Peanut Forum have not yet been set, but we will announce them as soon as we can.

The International Peanut Fourm is a key networking and conference event held every two years and is the only dedicated peanut conference for the world's peanut industry.  It is an opportunity to meet with farmers, shellers, exporters, brokers, dealers, manufacturers, testing laboratories, equipment and other service suppliers and discuss issues impacting our industry.

The 2016 IPF held in Madrid, Spain during April 13-15 was a great success, with record attendance levels of 350 delegates from 34 countries around the world.  Held in the stylish NH Collection Eurobuilding Hotel, delegates were able to network at evening receptions and lunches and to hear a range of presentations from some excellent speakers on peanut nutrition, improving peanut traits, allergy research and managing food allergies in schools, the nut markets in Spain and China, sustainability, new product launches, social media marketing and the ever-popular supply and demand panel.

If you were not able to attend the 2016 Forum, you can take a look at all the activities in the following video. Here is the Final 2016 Programme.

Welcome to APC's recipe library. Here, you will find many recipes that APC has collected that demonstrate the bountiful ways of enjoying peanuts and peanut products.

Peanut Blast SquaresTry all our nutritious and versatile appetizers and side recipes made from high-quality USA peanuts. Feeling hungry? All of these recipes can be used as entrées as well.

Peanut Butter and Banana Open-Faced SandwichIt has been long argued that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. So, why not add some high-quality and protein-rich peanuts? Check out our recipes below to see how you can provide a nutritious twist on some old favourites.

Chili Peanut PopcornDid you know the majority of peanut eaters enjoy them mainly as a snack? Try our nutritious and versatile snack recipes made with high-quality USA peanuts.

Asian Chicken and Veggie WrapSandwiches are great for any meal, so make them fun! Ditch the ordinary and try one of these delicious and nutritious peanut-infused recipes. After tasting one of these sandwiches, you’ll want to try a new one every day!

Thai Peanut MarinadeSpice up your dishes with a little peanut pizzazz! Incorporating these versatile peanut-based sauces and marinades in your meals will be sure to please any pallet. The possibilities are endless when adding nutritious peanuts to your meat or fish!

Autumn Gold Peanut SoupWhether you’re hosting a dinner party or packing your lunch, these soups and salad recipes containing high-quality U.S. peanuts are full of heart-healthy protein. These nutritious peanut-based recipes will be sure to curb your hunger and satisfy all your taste buds.

Peanut Blast SquaresSatisfy your sweet tooth with these versatile peanut-inspired recipes.

For all media inquiries, please contact: 

Amy Philpott, Media Relations Contact
Watson Green LLC
Washington, D.C. 20007
Tel:  202.384.1840

The following resources are available for those interested in international trade activities.

The following resources contain useful information for peanut shellers and crushers regarding sheller associations, export markets and good management practices.

Peanut farmers across the U.S. are represented by their state grower associations.
Peanut product manufacturers are companies which produce peanut butter, peanut candy, snack peanuts and other products using peanut ingredients.

The 2010 U.S. Dietary Guidelines say to add more plant-based protein to our diets. Peanuts and peanut butter provide more protein than any other nut (about 7-8 grams of protein per one ounce serving).

Peanuts are also nutrient dense and provide a balance of nutrients including fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin E, thiamin, magnesium, and healthy fats.

In addition, cooking with peanut oil and/or peanut flour can add a nutritious punch to your foods. For more information on peanut nutrition, visit The Peanut Institute at: www.peanut-institute.org.

For recipes on incorporating peanuts into your menu's, visit APC's Recipe Library. Recipes provided by the American Peanut Council.

You can view the photos from the 2016 International Peanut Forum here.
 
Below are videos of the 2016 Conference Sessions.  (These have been made available to you as an IPF delegate and we would appreciate your support in not sharing these with non-IPF delegates)

Peanut Bureau of Canada