I am a huge nut butter fan. I have a nut butter shelf in one of my kitchen cabinets, and I have even ranked my favorites:
Once upon a time, I blogged about nut butters and created a chart comparing taste and cost. I wanted to update the cost-affordability chart in my previous blog post to account for my tastes. While peanut butter is third on my list of favorite nut butters above, it’s on the taste-affordability efficient frontier. And I think that’s worth celebrating today on National Peanut Butter Day.
I consider four types of peanut butter as well as soy, almond, cashew, sunflower seed, and golden pea butter. I realize I could consider more subdivisions, but I wanted to keep things simple and be consistent with I actually categorize nut butters. Peanuts and peas are technically legumes, but legume butters options seem close enough to warrant a direct comparison to nut butters. I’ll refer to all of these options as “nut butters” in this post.
The peanut butter types are:
- Regular peanut butter or store brand peanut butter (Skippy, Peter Pan, store brand, etc.)
- Homemade peanut butter (see my recipe; it’s basically just a can of nuts placed in a food processor).
- Natural peanut butter (there are various kinds; imagine the kinds where the oil separates)
- Trader Joe’s peanut butter (it tastes different than the others to me)
The criteria I consider are:
- Affordability: the cheaper the better
- Taste: subjective according to my tastes
The homemade peanut butter has a hidden cost because I have to make it; however, I only include the cost of the ingredients in my chart below.
You might argue that my homemade peanut butter and natural peanut butter are the same thing except that I make the former kind. While technically that is true, I would argue that the homemade peanut butter tastes a lot better because I made it. The “Ikea effect,” a cognitive bias in which consumers place a disproportionately high value on products they partially created, explains why I prefer the nut butters I make.
The results indicate that there are four nut butters on the Pareto frontier:
- Cashew butter
- Soy butter
- Trader Joe’s peanut butter
- Homemade peanut butter
There are all kinds of nut butters with other things mixed in: chocolate, cookie dough, bourbon pecan (it’s to die for!). All of these nut butters are excellent, although some are better than others. It’s hard to compete with chocolate so I left those off. I also left off cookie butter because it’s not a nut butter and not nearly as good (at least to me).
My cabinet at home currently has: natural peanut butter, Trader Joe’s peanut butter, golden pea butter, soy butter, chocolate peanut butter, and Nutella (for my daughters; it has too much lactose for me).
What is your favorite nut butter?