The growth of peanut butter in Italy and around the world

jar of peanut butter with spoon – food and drink

The peanut butter it accompanies breakfasts, is loved by adults and children as a snack and is often used as an ingredient in other recipes, from protein bars to yoghurts. According to data from Gs1 Italy in 2022 the presence of peanut butter reported on the labels of other products grew by 67% in gdo, reaching 36 references. It is a food that is often confused with dried fruit, but is classified as a legume. According to research by NielsenIQ, sales of this product grew at a rate of more than 40% year on year in large-scale distribution even before Covid. 2022 also confirmed the trend, with a +49% in value and +50% in volume compared to 2021. On a global scale, statistics evaluate the value of its market at around 5.7 billion dollars in 2021 and predict a rate of annual growth of 6.9% until 2028: this would mean reaching a value of 9.9 billion dollars in that year. Certainly the fluctuating prices of peanuts influence the performance of the product and in 2018, for example, the European Union indicated its intention to impose higher duties on the import of peanut butter from the United States.

The peanut butter market is growing, not only in Italy

Furthermore, looking at trends on a global scale, the crunchy segment has earned the preferences of international customers, which in 2021 exceeded 45% of the market. The segment enriched with fruits, nuts and seeds is also growing. For example, on Indian market in July 2022 the company Ambrosia Organic Farms introduced the world’s first mango peanut butter. While in September 2021, the company Chobani brought to the United States its chocolate peanut butter spread. But let’s go back to Italy. Over 2.4 million kilos of peanut butter were purchased on the large-scale retail channel alone in 2022. We are talking about a cart exceeding 24.3 million euros.

A word from some players on the Italian market

Fiorentini Alimentari

Simona Fiorentini, export and marketing manager, Fiorentini

A company turnover of around 110 million euros in 2023, with an overall annual production of around 17 thousand tonnes. Fiorentini Alimentari spa produces 1,800 tons of this product every year. A spreadable cream that is available in large-scale distribution in 350 gram jars in the creamy, crunchy and 100% peanut versions and from the beginning of the year also in the 100 gram pocket formula, 100% roasted peanuts (in 90 gram pockets, also 100% hazelnut cream and 100% almond cream). “The sales balance sheets are very positive – he comments Simona Fiorentini, export and marketing manager -, our peanut butter line is enjoying considerable success. Our company positions itself as a market leader in value and volume. In Italy we were the first producers of healthy version peanut butter. We strongly believe in the Italian market in this sector, in 2023 we opened a new factory exclusively for the production of Fiorentini peanut butter with the aim of increasing our production for greater marketing both on a national scale and also reaching the international market. We have also worked on an innovative range of products regarding ingredients and packaging. In January we presented three new spreadable creams in doypack format at Marca: peanut butter 100% peanuts, hazelnut cream 100% and almond cream 100%. They are energy snacks made with a single ingredient, with a virtuous nutritional profile and in a pocket-sized format.” Then the manager continues by going into detail about the products marketed: “We work to offer good and light news for everyone. The biggest is the launch of the new range of single-ingredient spreads in the doypack format. This is an innovative line made up of three products: peanut butter 100% peanuts, hazelnut cream 100% and almond cream 100%. The new spreadable creams are produced with attention to well-being, lightness and taste. With the new products our strategy does not change: we always aim for simplicity and authenticity. They are single ingredient items that embody the modern food product. The new spreadable creams complement our peanut butter in the three versions, present in the main large-scale retailers and in our proprietary eCommerce”.

Euro Company

Maurizio Castagnoli, commercial director, Euro Company

“A pure cream of Italian peanuts – he explains Maurizio Castagnolicommercial director of Euro Company-, obtained by grinding only dried fruit. Over 450 peanuts per jar, grown and harvested in our country.” This is the product in a 300 gram glass jar launched in June 2022 on the large-scale retail channel by Euro Company. A production company that has been producing, selecting and marketing nuts and dried fruit since 1979, from its headquarters in Godo di Russi, in Romagna, with a company turnover of over 115 million euros in 2023 and brands such as 100%, La Dispensa Preziosa, Simply Fruit, 0.99, Fruit and Berries and Econoce. “Our 100% creams were born from the desire to offer a new way to enjoy dried fruit – continues Castagnoli -, which is increasingly present in daily nutrition. Dried fruit-only creams respond to consumers’ growing demand for quality products, with transparent labels and very short ingredient lists. This is precisely the peculiar element of 100% creams: just one ingredient, dried fruit, without sugars or salt, oils, thickeners, emulsifiers and additives. We are convinced that nothing else is needed to enhance a quality raw material.”

Rigoni di Asiago

Cristina Cossa, marketing director, Rigoni di Asiago

Natu Peanuts is the organic spreadable cream based on 94% peanuts, “roasted for a cream with a strong and natural taste – illustrates Cristina Cossamarketing director of Rigoni di Asiago-, with a rough consistency”, produced without added sugars and sold in 220 gram glass jars with steel caps in large-scale distribution. Rigoni di Asiago achieved 80% of its turnover in the retail channel, closing at 136 million in 2023. “Our choice was to create a recipe product – explains Cossa -, with a high percentage of dried fruit and butter of cocoa, without added sugars; the objective is to offer the consumer a product that can avoid the separation and consequent rancidity of fats, guaranteeing a unique creaminess. We have a good protein content and a “rough” texture that consumers are very appreciating. The vase is our iconic, octagonal glass vase.” Regarding the sales trend “it is a market we have entered in recent monthslaunching three references: peanuts, almonds and sunflower. So it’s maybe a little early to give an overview of the performances – clarifies the director -. This is a market that is seeing a very positive trend with double-digit growth, driven by consumer choices towards natural and healthy products. It was therefore natural for us to enter this segment with our Natù brand, an organic brand in the area wellnesswith a range of natural products that offer benefits from a nutritional point of view.”

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