This was a fun review to do, as I love peanut butter!

I got my 8 year old involved too, to make sure my opinion on taste was in line with a kid’s taste (albeit the kid of a nutritionist!).

I just tested 6 readily available peanut butters.  I’m sure there are more niche brands at markets and health foods shops which I haven’t covered.  You can apply my summary recommendations to other brands that I haven’t included, to see if they come up to scratch.

Woolworth’s Essentials

I am still reeling from the overwhelming saltiness of this product.  You can’t even taste the peanuts, it’s just salt.  And the saltiness lingers for a long time.

There are 2 problems with this.

  • The first is if you feed your kids salty tasting foods, their taste buds adapt, and they don’t even think it’s salty anymore.  They will need to add salt to foods that don’t have much salt in them, to compensate for their salt hungry taste buds.
  • The second issue is the actual detrimental effect this salt is having on your child.  High salt intakes lead to all sorts of issues.  It’s bad for your bones, your heart, kidneys and stomach.

This peanut butter had the second highest sodium content of the ones I reviewed, 469mg of sodium per 100g of peanut butter.

Another bad thing about this one is that it is only 90% peanuts.  They have actually added sugar to the recipe.

Sugar, salt and fat in combination is a recipe for overeating, so even though this is one of the cheaper ones, your kids will probably eat it faster.

Bega Peanut Butter

I got quite a shock as I browsed the peanut butter section of the supermarket.  It was totally dominated by Bega.  They have obviously negotiated a sweet deal with the supermarket.

This was, amazingly, even more salty than the Woolworth’s Essentials.  I even got in my trusty assistant, age 8, for a second opinion.  She agreed that this was unpleasantly salty.

It has 576mg sodium per 100g.

It also has the lowest level of peanuts, only 85%.  The have added a ‘vegetable oil’ to make up the difference, and haven’t labelled exactly which one.

Vegetable oils like canola are very inflammatory.  I always recommend people chuck these out from their pantry, and use less inflammatory oils.  Vegetable oils are really cheap, so used in processed foods and café / takeaway food.

Canola oil is one of the few permitted genetically modified crops in Australia.  If you want to avoid eating genetically modified foods, avoid canola.

These type of oils are high in omega 6, and we all have way too much omega 6 in our diet.  You want to keep a high ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 in your diet.

Pics peanut butter

This one tasted really good, like peanuts!

The odd thing was there was a bit of a white sludge on the top of the jar, which was probably just the naturally occurring fat separating out.  Nevertheless, most consumers would think it was mould.

This one only had 180mg sodium per 100g.  Enough to enhance the peanut flavour, without overwhelming it.

The ingredient list is simple:  High oleic peanuts (99.5%), sea salt. 

High oleic peanuts are one which have more of a monounsaturated fatty acid called oleic acid in them.  This means they last longer than regular ones without going rancid, which is a great thing for taste and health. They have also used sea salt instead of refined salt.  Although this still contains sodium, at least is has some trace minerals in it too.

Sanitarium natural peanut butter

This was quite impressive for a mainstream brand.

It only has 5mg of sodium, because they don’t add any salt at all.  It is just blended up peanuts.

This tasted great, with no off flavours, and didn’t suffer from the lack of salt.  But strangely, it did have an oily aftertaste, which you wouldn’t expect without the added oil.

It has the highest level of protein, so if you are using peanut butter to boost your protein intake, this one is the best.

All round a great choice.

Mayvers peanut butter

Similar to Pics with 99.5% peanuts, the rest sea salt.  Tasted great, a really good balance of salt and peanut.

Macro organic peanut butter

This was the biggest disappointment for me.  I was so excited to have an organic peanut butter to try.  I try to buy as much as I can organic.  There is so much evidence that the pesticides in food are harmful to health, I am more than happy to spend more on my grocery bills and less on my doctor’s bills.

But this tasted terrible.

Just rancid peanuts.

Again, I double checked with my 8 year old and got her to taste all the peanut butters and tell me her least favourite one, and this was it.

If I learnt one thing from my 15 years in the food industry, it was that if a food doesn’t taste good, the health credentials of it are worthless.

This has no added salt, just organic peanuts.  This has led to some problems.

Salt is a great preservative.  Without it, you rely on having great, fresh raw materials.  There is nothing to preserve it.

With no salt, you can’t mask any rancid flavour.  The peanuts are naked.

As they are using organic peanuts, it probably really limits their choice on where their peanuts come from and what age they are.  So possibly the peanuts weren’t great quality to start off with.

Worryingly, the one I tasted still had 350 days of shelf life left.

Aldi peanut butter

Like Sanitarium, Aldi don’t add any salt, but it is still a great tasting product.  Just 100% peanuts.

This is the one we normally buy.

I am a huge fan of Aldi, as they have some great products, including organic ones.

But my favourite thing about Aldi is the lack of choice.  It makes the shopping trip so much easier!

Take home message:

  • Choose a peanut butter with no more than 0.5% salt added
  • The salt should preferably be sea salt
  • There should be no oils or sugar added
  • My preferred brands from above would be Aldi, Mayvers, Pics or Sanitarium (I surprised myself with that!)