Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches permeate the memories of many of our childhoods; however, for one American child out of 80, peanuts provoke an allergic reaction. The New England Journal of Medicine estimates food allergies, overall, cause about 30,000 anaphylactic reactions per year, and legislation is pending to have any food product that may even come into contact with nuts during processing be labeled accordingly.

Peanut or tree nuts are considered one of the top eight food allergens. Manufacturers who are concerned about the legal, labeling and potential insurance issues associated with using peanuts in their products, or in their processing facilities, will be interested in a new peanut-free, creamy product.

SunGold SunButter is a spread that was developed and funded by Red River Commodities, Fargo, N.D., in cooperation with the USDA's Agriculture Research Service. Its main ingredient is sunflower kernels and it can replace peanut butter at a 1:1 ratio in any food or manufacturing recipe. It provides a creamy, nutty flavor closely resembling that of peanut butter, with a similar consistency. The product received much attention at last month's IFT show.

A Winner in Tastiness

In a recent independent study of 5 to 12-year-olds, more than 66% rated the sunflower butter higher than peanut butter on a hedonic scale of 1 to 10. About 24% of them rated the smooth, creamy fresh-roasted taste a perfect 10.

A single serving is packed with 43% of the RDA of vitamin E, 9% of iron and 49% of thiamine. Its consistency, fat, protein and fiber content are similar to that of peanut butter.

The product can be spread on apples, incorporated into Thai stir-fry sauces, cookies, cheesecake or energy bars, or used as a dip with pretzels, celery or crackers. To help with product consistency and mouthfeel, sunflower butter can be added to purees, pastes or condiments.

For more information:
Dan Hofland at 800-437-5539 •
River Commodities/SunGold Foods Write in 214