Nut spread trends

Peanut Butter takes the lead in taste, flavor and price among spreads, but has some work to do to be considered a snack item.

The goal of specialty food and beverage artisan commercial manufacturers is to create a niche product that serves a specific market to increase wholesale product sales. Mintel, the world’s leading market intelligence agency, weighs in on the market for nut spreads.

Nut spreads and nut spreads combined with a sweet spread only saw a one percent increase in 2017-2018, according to Mintel. Mintel saw that spreads seem to be tethered to use on bread or on a sandwich and are mostly consumed at breakfast time. An additional barrier spreads are taking is that the consumption of bread is weakening due to public concern of sugar consumption, making the market for spreads face a growth barrier.

Peanut butter seems to dominate in the nut spreads at a 72 percent consumption rate due to its ability to meet taste, flavor, and price. These attributes, along with texture, are so important to consumers that they take priority over the concern for fat and sugar content. Other nut spreads, such as almond or cashew butter, have only a 8-20 percent consumption rate and have a tough time competing in the price comparison of peanut butter for those concerned with price.

Mintel saw snacking as a potential growth market for nut spreads, due to their potential to be viewed as an indulgence and healthy option. Additionally, marketing “unique usage suggests convenient product packaging will help the category double its chances in the snack space” suggests Mintel. Entering the snack market at a higher rate is also possible by pairing nut spread to current snack options as an ingredient or pair in packaging.

Finally, the study shows consumers are attached to brands, types, and uses when it comes to nut spreads. Mintel found that sampling of new products, offering them in snack packaging, and multiple snack flavor packages will be critical to changing attachment to brands, types and their use beyond breakfast.

The MSU Product Center, in partnership with Michigan State University Extension, provides business counseling for product development and marketing strategies that help Michigan entrepreneurs commercialize high-value, consumer–responsive food products. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. For more information, visit To have a digest of information delivered straight to your email inbox, visit To contact an expert in your area, visit, or call 888-MSUE4MI (888-678-3464).

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