Friday, August 24, 2012

Buyer Beware! Part 2

Not long ago, I wrote about a trip to the store, in which the market had a sign labeled "Sustainable Seafood" next to a freezer full of seafood that wasn't sustainable.

Technically, the sign was referring to the fact that they carried some sustainable seafood, not necessarily the fish in that freezer. But it was still shady, because I'm sure plenty of people thought they were doing a good deed by buying from that freezer.

Last weekend I was at the same grocery chain and grabbed a jar of the store brand organic peanut butter for a recipe I was making. Admittedly, I didn't look at the ingredients list. Most organic peanut butter has the following ingredients: peanuts. Sometimes, they have: peanuts, salt.

When I got home, I carefully took off the lid and peeled back the seal -- because I'm pretty clumsy, and if I'm not ridiculously cautious, I usually splash the oil on the top of the organic peanut butter all over the place.

I was surprised when there was no oil on top.

If you don't usually buy natural peanut butter, you might not be familiar with the oil on top of peanut butter. Natural peanut butter, the kind that has only peanuts, separates at room temperature. You have to stir it up - another messy process that usually ends in spills, if you're me (oh, someday I may have a peanut butter stirrer like the one at right, but it seems like the bourguiest thing one could possibly buy. This is a product that screams: oh, of course I wouldn't dream of buying Jif for my little Muffy and Skeeter! And I just can't get any peanut butter oil on my Ralph Lauren chinos.) 

Anyway, when I looked closer at the jar, it said "No Need to Stir!"

Which means that it wasn't made from only peanuts. It also contained sugar, salt, and palm oil. That's why it remained stable on the store shelves.

I was annoyed. I mean, the store technically didn't do anything wrong. It said "organic", not "100% peanuts". And the palm oil and sugar were organic. But when there's an industry standard for something, you expect a certain thing. And that certain thing is not peanut butter with sugar in it.

This just tells me that at this grocery chain, I have to be extra careful about reading labels. And that's the kind of thing that turns people off to trying to be green. And of course, I won't be buying that peanut butter ever again, and I'll be less likely to buy their organic brand. (I'd love to boycott the chain, since they also have horrible service, but they have the monopoly on grocery stores in my neighborhood)


grammargeek said...

If you have a "reserve jar" of PB, keep it stored upside down until you open it. The oil stays more settled that way.

(But I totally want that stirrer now.)

Catfish said...

That's a great tip, @grammargeek! I never thought of that.