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dried fruits & nuts  peanuts
A produce department, says Chad Hart- man, director of marketing for Truly Good Foods in Charlotte, NC, should have bulk in-shell peanuts at the very least, while bulk shelled roasted and salted peanuts “are a great addition. Packaged in-shell is a great addition along with packaged shelled salted peanuts and spiced peanuts,” adding they are best sit- uated with other nuts or snacks.
Hartman suggests setting aside anywhere from four to eight feet of sales space in the produce department for peanuts. “But most importantly, make sure you have the right selection; in-shell, shelled and spiced are all very important to a produce peanut selection.”
Among the most-e ective methods used for selling peanuts, especially  avored pea- nuts, are cross-merchandising  avored nuts with complementary items, which Hartman says has shown great success. “Spicy peanuts with drinks, raw peanuts with baking sup- plies, and salted peanuts with other snacks have all proven successful.”
Most of what Hartman and his colleagues see is growth in snacking on peanuts, he notes. “Whether it be in-shell, shelled, salt- ed, spiced or peanuts in a snack mix, all signs point to extra interest from consumers. High- er levels of protein seem to be one reason why we are seeing this growth.”
Snacking, of course, remains Americans’ favorite pastime, and is on the increase. Says Hartman, “Lately we have seen increases from snackers, especially snackers seeking protein.” Sweet baking applications and Asian dishes are also growing usage occasions.
“Holiday baking is big, and candied pea- nuts or peanut brittle are favorites,” Hartman has found. In addition to  anksgiving and Christmas, summer holidays such as Memo- rial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day are all strong occasions.
“Peanuts can be used in a variety of dish- es,” explains NPB’s Williams. “Spiced peanuts can be used to top a shrimp cocktail. Peanuts are a traditional ingredient in Mexican mole sauces. Chopped peanuts added as a topping contribute crunch and texture to a peanut butter cake, brownies or quickbreads.”
Hartman urges food retailers to promote the peanut category using, among other things, temporary price reductions. “Consumers don’t always think of products outside of ‘normal’ consumption times, so promote them.”
Waymouth Farms’ management says con- sumers are more inclined to purchase pri- vate-label nuts as opposed to bulk product. “ e general population is becoming more aware of sanitation issues, and bulk foods lose appeal as the quality control and potential for contamina-
tion become a concern with some consumers,” Hartigan points out. “Alternatives to this are to use tamper-evident packaging, which will move products quicker than bulk bins.”
Creative product placement and displays should o er suggestions for recipes and dual purchases, she continues. “Just as salad top- pings are placed near the lettuce, peanuts and nuts/trail mixes could be mixed in.”
Consumers also crave convenience, which is why Hartigan says so-called bag-in-a-bag is becoming more popular. “Peanuts, trail mix- es, and any other nut, packaged in individual servings, is a great way to move product. Con- sumers love these products to take to lunch, pop in their children’s lunchboxes, or keep handy as healthy snacks.”
Flavored peanuts are a favorite snack food, and single-serve o erings “move quickly near checkout where consumers tend to impulse buy, and are typically more inclined to grab a snack,” says Hartigan.
Diet-conscious consumers love this op- tion, she adds, because “it helps them manage portions. Bulk bin and large packages are less attractive options for this segment.” Since pea- nuts are high in protein and  ber, they tend to work well in a stir-fry or salad and when blended to make butter. “ ey are particularly delicious when added to a trail mix,” says Har- tigan. “Our Good Sense snacks o er hundreds of combinations of mixes.”
Waymouth executives say back to school is, in Hartigan’s words, “ a great time to market grab-and-go selections of nuts, trail mixes, etc., as these will be top-of-the-mind of the consumer. ” pb
Health always will be a powerful
consumer driver when it comes to all vari- eties of nuts, and especially peanuts. As Sherry Coleman Collins, MS, RDN, LD, reports on the NPB website, “peanut-lovers rejoice because interim guidance from the FDA now allows nutrient-packed peanuts to be called healthy...”
A study published recently in the journal Nutrients found consuming two servings of peanuts provides the same benefits for those with Type 2 diabetes as eating al- monds. In this study, 25 participants ate a low-carb diet for 12 weeks and had either a serving of peanuts or almonds twice a day. They found there was no difference in improving blood glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels (a factor to determine long-term
blood glucose regulation), between the two groups.
“The takeaway here is that individuals with diabetes should consume nuts to re- ceive the many glycemic and cardio-meta- bolic benefits and can feel confident choos- ing peanuts, which are less expensive and more palatable to most consumers,” says Lauren Harris-Pincus, MS, RDN, author of The Protein-Packed Breakfast Club.
Retailers also can provide information to help ease consumers’ fears about things such as fat and allergies. The National Insti- tutes of Health has published information relating to the prevention of peanut allergy in the U.S. Guidelines , which recommends the early introduction of peanut protein in infants between 4 and 6 months of age de-
pending on risk (low, medium or high) to prevent peanut allergy.
For those who are concerned about the fat in peanuts, information can be provid- ed to remind them that most of the fat is so-called good fat – 12 grams of the 14 grams total fat are unsaturated – the kind that Americans are taught they should eat more often. Peanuts also provide more energy-boosting protein than any nut, at 7 grams per serving. With more than 30 vitamins and nutrients, peanuts are a superfood. They are a good source of fi- ber and good fats, proven to keep people fuller longer. They add nutrition, crunch, and leave a great flavor that people love; are cholesterol-free and a good source of antioxidants. pb

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