The Dutch consume more than twenty million jars of peanut butter every year. But who really made the difference? An expert and fan will share the history of one of the most popular spread.
Few things Dutch look like a bowl of peanut butter on the table. However, peanut butter as we know it today was not invented here, but in the United States.
Rumor has it that the Aztecs had already roasted and ground nuts as a medicinal application for toothache. The fact is that peanuts conquered the world from South America. Although the peanut kernels may have been made before, it was Marcellus Gilmore Edson who filed for the first patent for peanut butter in Montreal in Canada in 1884 that roasted and crushed peanuts and mixed them with sugar.
In 1895, American John Harvey Kellogg followed a patent on peanut flour. Kellogg was looking for whole food for hospital patients who had difficulty chewing.
The French Calveh Brothers produced the first packages of Calvi peanut butter. The fact that peanut butter is seen as a typical Dutch product has something to do with smart marketing. ”
Peanut butter has become known as an inexpensive, healthy product and a perfect substitute for meat. In 1922, chemist Joseph Lewis Rosefield invented a process for making peanut butter of equal consistency. This was the start of peanut butter as it is still off the production line today.
With the arrival of the American allies, peanut butter appeared in the Netherlands after World War II. The French brothers Calvi produced the first jars of peanut butter from Calvi in Delft in 1948. The fact that peanut butter is now being tested as a typical Dutch product has to do with smart marketing.
Influencers of the 1980s
In the 1980s, television advertising was still widely seen and advertising messages were more decisive for the spirit of the times, says Dutch Cultural Heritage Agency spokesman Dolph Muller. “We all saw the same commercials, which were part of our identity,” Mueller says. “Petje Pitamientje was the face of Calvi and was indeed a true influencer of his time.”
The advertisement in which the supposed two-time Elfstedentocht winner Evert van Benthem is seen as a kid skater, contributed a lot, too. While feeding on a peanut butter sandwich, the boy says he wants to become a farmer and later skater.
Big and powerful
That’s why peanut butter has become so big in the Netherlands. “The feeling of peanut butter is deeply rooted,” says Michel Voss, founder of De Pindakaaswinkel. “Not everyone loves it, but the love is deep among the fans.” In 2017 he brought American Peanut Butter Day to Holland.
“I’ve always been a fan of peanut butter. But it wasn’t until I got into the field of nutrition that I realized how special peanut butter really was. Besides being delicious and healthy, its spread is also sustainable. Peanut butter contains a lot of protein and good fats. Surprisingly, “We are seeing an increase in demand – from outside as well -” says Voss enthusiastically.
Various flavors of peanut butter are available at De Pindakaaswinkel. It becomes clear once again that we are a humble people when we ask for the best-selling flavor. Nationwide, natural peanut butter stands head and shoulders above the rest. Sports peanut butter with nut chunks and extra protein are also best. However, there are regional differences. In Rotterdam and Den Bosch, for example, Dadel Cinnamon is a favorite.
Voss notes: “The far south, the sweeter.” Caramel zeisot is a bestseller in Eindhoven, Maastricht and Antwerp. It’s surprising that in The Hague and Hilversum, the herb chili and lemonade is growing faster, Voss said. And we know in The Hague that this is due to the large Indonesian community.
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