Consumers associated peanuts with energy

American consumers agree that not only does a PB&J taste great, the classic American staple also ranks as the number one sandwich for providing lasting energy, according to the National Peanut Board's (NPB) latest Consumer Attitudes Tracking Study, an independent national survey. It's also clear from the study that Americans don't like to be without this favorite food as 90 percent of all respondents reported having at least one jar of peanut butter in their household.

Given today's on-the-go lifestyle and hectic pace, it is understandable that peanuts, with more protein than any nut, experienced a significant increase in consumption for snack mixes, in-shell peanuts, cocktail peanuts and trail mixes.

"With more attention rightfully paid to America's food choices, we are fortunate to grow and promote one of the few foods the nation agrees tastes great and is a powerhouse of energy and nutrients," said Jeffrey Pope, Virginia peanut farmer and NPB chairman.

The data also shows that American consumers are beginning to translate the health messages they hear each day into lifestyle changes. A record 30 percent of consumers indicate they consider their eating habits to be very healthy, the highest score that the tracking study has recorded since 2001.

"We are encouraged that the data clearly supports our branding strategy of 'Peanuts: Energy for the Good Life' and our focus on educating consumers on the nutritional benefits of USA-grown peanuts and peanut butter," said Raffaela Marie Fenn, president and managing director of NPB.

While consumers indicate they are shifting to healthy diets, there was an increase in the percentage of respondents who claim to be avoiding all fats. This reinforces the need identified by the Board to fill the pipeline with positive nutrition messages highlighting the unique nutrient package of peanuts and peanut products, which includes "good" monounsaturated fats that have been linked to heart health.

Survey results show peanuts and peanut product marketing, PR and advertising have positively impacted share of mind in 2009 with 48 percent more of the respondents considering peanuts as an option for a meal or snack than in 2006. Further, 52 percent of respondents reported they recently learned something new about eating peanut butter that made them consider peanut butter more often.

"Peanuts and peanut butter are more than a tasty snack; they provide a prime combination of protein and power-releasing nutrients like niacin and folate to fuel thoughts and actions. So it is a wise decision to incorporate them in our daily diets," said Bonnie Johnson, NPB registered dietician.

The National Peanut Board represents all USA peanut farmers and their families. Through research and marketing initiatives the Board is finding new ways to enhance production and increase consumer demand by promoting the great taste, nutrition and culinary versatility of USA-grown peanuts. For more information, visit www.nationalpeanutboard.org.