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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Post# 219 - Skippy Natural Peanut Butter: Not-So-Natural - 7/29/2010

I sent this to Skippy Peanut Butter on 7/29/2010:

Dear Skippy,

When I was a boy, I spent my summers on my Grandpa’s peanut farm in lovely Georgia. We would work hard—really, really hard, all day. We’d be up at 4:30, breaking for a big lunch at 11:00, and working right up until dusk.

At night, we’d sit on the porch. Grandpa would tell stories about how simple the world used to be, and how much better it was. Grandma would take some of the peanuts (the ugly ones). She would shell them and grind them. The result was the most delicious peanut butter. She would say “it tastes so good because it’s natural—how God intended it. No lard, vegetable oil, or ingredients that we can’t even pronounce.

If there were ingredients listed on Grandma’s jar, they would read “Peanuts”. Grandma and Grandpa H died horrible deaths years later. I don’t really like thinking about it. And really, that’s beside the point. The real point here is, things were natural. My brother and I would argue over the right to “stir” the peanut butter.

A few weeks back, I headed to the store to purchase some peanut butter. I thought of my Grandma when I reached for Skippy Natural. As I paid the cashier, I knew Grandma would be proud of my choice, rest her soul. I pictured some other Grandfather/Grandson tandem picking those peanuts in the hot, hot Georgia sun.

I took my Skippy Natural Peanut Butter home to enjoy what I thought would be a natural experience. As I loosened the lid, I read the ingredients. Roasted peanuts, sugar, palm oil and salt. Suddenly, my vision of Grandpa’s farm picked up a sugar cane field, a salt mine, and some palm trees. That’s awfully busy, don’t you think?

I don’t have a huge problem with the salt. I don’t understand the palm oil or sugar. I’m no dummy—the oil removes the stirring part. Aren’t we out-of-shape enough? A little vigorous exercise is good. Also—I bet you sell three times as much peanut butter by sweetening it for the young folk.

Make up your mind. Are you going natural, or not? Palm trees don’t grow in peanut fields. Their oil doesn’t belong in my peanut butter. Don’t call it natural f it really isn’t. It’s deceptive.

Mark me down as dissatisfied. I’d appreciate a written explanation.



P.S. – Are the Skippy Scientists working on a peanut allergen friendly peanut butter? Your competitors are. Just pointing that out.
Date: Thu, 29 Jul 2010 08:54:44 -0400
Subject: Skippy Consumer Services Case #: 7738520

Hello Jerry,

Thank you for writing to us. We do apologize for the experience you reported concerning Skippy.

Skippy Natural uses palm oil, not palm kernel oil.  Palm oil is extracted from the pulp of the palm fruitlet and then continues through several non-chemical processing steps. Palm kernel oil is a tropical oil derived from the seed of the palm fruit. Palm kernel oil, not to be confused with palm oil, is extremely high in saturated fat. It is often used in the manufacture of various cosmetics and in some brands of margarine.

Palm Oil is used in this product because it is a "natural" oil and helps eliminates the oil separation seen in other natural peanut butters. The palm oil is extracted from the palm fruitlet by pressing. Subsequent processing steps are non-chemical and thus palm oil can be considered 'natural'.  Many consumers want to serve natural peanut butters to their families, but they dislike having to stir the oil into the product. Skippy Natural allows you to enjoy the benefits of Natural Peanut Butters without having the added step of having to stir.

Skippy Natural is made with ingredients that are minimally and non-chemically processed. The FDA does not have a definition for natural products, like it does for organic foods, but the general ruling is that natural foods should be minimally and non-chemically processed.

Other Natural Peanut Butters do not use a stabilizing ingredient. This causes the natural oils found in peanuts to separate out, thus causing a layer of oil on the top.

We hope this information is helpful!

Your friends at Skippy

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