Researchers develop new way to eat peanut butter

Published: Monday, February 25, 2019 By: Marcus Elwell Source: The Journal Record

The days of scooping peanut butter straight out of the jar with a spoon may be nearing an end.

Researchers at Oklahoma State University’s Robert M. Kerr Food & Agricultural Products Center have developed a bite-size peanut butter product that is individually wrapped, high in protein and made from real peanut butter.

“These peanut butter snacks provide consumers with a convenient, healthy way of eating one of their favorite foods,” said Dani Bellmer, FAPC food processing engineer and co-inventor of the bites.

Bellmer and William McGlynn, FAPC horticulture processing specialist, began a peanut butter venture in the late 1990s. Their original creation, PB Slices, provided an easier way for consumers to make peanut butter sandwiches. After about a year on the market, the project fizzled out and the pair never pursued it again.

Years later, the specialists began looking to revamp the concept of PB Slices. Wanting to identify potential markets for their original product, the duo participated in the Oklahoma Proof of Concept Center, a statewide technology business accelerator program managed by Innovation Enterprise in Oklahoma City, to investigate the business opportunities for the peanut butter slice technology.

“After talking to food service providers, distributors and a wide array of demographics during the course, it became evident consumers were no longer interested in the original product,” McGlynn said. “The consumers who were most excited about the bite-size snacks were primarily fitness people looking for a healthy snack to incorporate into their busy lives.”

McGlynn said FAPC, a part of OSU’s Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, assisted with the creation of the peanut butter snack.

OSU’s Technology Business Development Program helped fund the product development work.

Reformulations of the product were completed at FAPC but locating a facility with the proper allergen permissions and appropriate equipment to form the snack-size bites was a challenge.

Cerreta Candy Co. in Glendale, Arizona, was able to give access to its facility for pilot runs of the product where the individually wrapped peanut butter bite samples were produced.

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