Consumer Research: Peanuts and sustainability – Good for our health, communities and the planet

peanut cropRecent research shows that the pandemic shifted Canadian consumers’ preferences. Emerging from the pandemic, consumers are demanding food companies take action to reduce the impact of the sector on climate and waste, and improve sustainability along every point of the supply chain.

For example, a recent Deloitte report found:

  • 71% of Canadians say it’s important they understand where their food comes from.
  • 72% of Canadians prefer to shop at food retailers with strong sustainability practices.

And this shift is not just among Canadians:

  • The International Food Information Council (IFIC) 2021 Food and Health Survey found 42% of consumers believe their food choices impact the environment.
  • 53% of shoppers said understanding the environmental impact of their food purchases would greatly influence their purchasing decisions.
  • 61% of those surveyed by the EY Future Consumer Index Survey say they plan to pay more attention to the environmental impact of what they consume found.

Fortunately, peanuts aren’t just delicious and nutritious, they’re one of the most sustainable ingredients available. Deemed nature’s original “zero-waste” crop, peanuts and peanut butter appeal to consumers searching for more sustainable food options. Here’s why:

  • Everything from the peanut roots to the hulls is used.
  • Peanuts adjust their growing cycle based on available water, whereas other tree nuts need a consistent water supply to grow. Less water means a smaller carbon footprint. 
  • A one-ounce serving of shelled peanuts requires only 4.7 gallons of water to grow, compared to 18.8 gallons for one ounce of pistachios, 73.5 gallons for one ounce of walnuts and 80.4 gallons for one ounce of almonds.
  • Peanuts are nitrogen-fixing, meaning they take nitrogen from the air and produce their own in the ground. In other words, they have a unique ability to improve soil.
  • Thanks to innovative farming practices and consistent iteration on sustainability efforts, it takes less than half the land to grow a pound of U.S.-grown peanuts today versus 30 years ago!
  • Peanut butter is an economical source of protein that doesn’t require refrigeration, making it one of the most requested items by food banks. In developing nations, peanut-based, ready-to-use therapeutic foods (RUTFs) are saving the lives of malnourished children.

Consumers should feel good about purchasing and eating peanuts and peanut butter knowing they’re not just good for our health, but also for our communities, and our planet.