The Mystery of the vanished Costco organic peanut butter
October 12, 2011 5:05 PM   Subscribe

Costco's Kirkland Brand organic peanut butter. It has disappeared from Costco and is apparently discontinued. Why oh why has this occurred?

What occurred to make Costco discontinue their house brand of organic peanut butter? Any ideas? Anybody familiar enough with Costco policies to comment?

Follow up question: Can anyone recommend a peanut butter which, like the late lamented Kirkland brand, is made of nothing but peanuts and salt? No palm oil or other added fat, nothing. Doesn't have to be organic.
posted by Ginesthoi to Shopping (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I can only answer the followup: you want Adam's peanut butter, which is also sold in my costco. Contains peanuts and salt and nothing else.
posted by KathrynT at 5:11 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

It's been a bad year for peanuts.

The cost of cotton was high a while back, so many peanut farmers decided to put in cotton as well as peanuts, resulting in less nutty goodness. Then, it stopped raining just about everywhere peanuts grow, also resulting in less nutty goodness.

I'm afraid that not only is your Kirkland peanut butter gone for a while, but that Trader Joe's is discontinuing their organic brand as well. And we can expect peanut butter prices to rise. Which is most unfortunate for those folks that have been relying on peanut butter as a low-cost source of protein. (Peanut butter sales have risen something like 10% in the last couple years due to people not being able to afford meat.)

posted by Specklet at 5:11 PM on October 12, 2011 [6 favorites]

TJs is dropping theirs? Dang. I love the Valencia stuff with flax seeds. On the other hand, I just noticed that Target has an Archer Farms branded peanut butter, made with Valencia peanuts, sea salt and flax seed, in a SUSPICIOUSLY familiar-looking container. As far as I can tell, it's the same supplier as TJ's PB varieties, from plan nuts to the flaxseed variety to the mixed peanut and almond one. If you have a Target close by, see if it fits your bill.
posted by caution live frogs at 5:17 PM on October 12, 2011

Your local indie organic food store may have a peanut butter machine on premises. You can watch your peanut butter being made.
posted by COD at 5:19 PM on October 12, 2011 [8 favorites]

Specklet's right. There's a peanut shortage!
posted by zsazsa at 5:19 PM on October 12, 2011

Do you have a Whole Foods nearby? Their house brand meets your specification.
posted by procrastination at 5:46 PM on October 12, 2011

Back in the day (a few years ago) Costco temporarily stopped carrying Kirkland maple syrup when maple syrup was really expensive. It's back now that prices have come down, so hopefully this too shall pass.
posted by true at 5:52 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

You are looking for Parker's Peanut Butter! Ingredients: Peanuts, salt and so so good! They have this all over the place where I live but in glancing at the website I just realized that it's a local company. I hope you can find it near you. If not, every co-op I've ever been to has real peanut butter that you can package up and buy yourself.
posted by triggerfinger at 6:27 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

"Smuckers Natural" is nothing but peanuts & salt. I can find it at Target & all of our basic grocery stores. It's also fairly cheap.
posted by belladonna at 6:35 PM on October 12, 2011

I think either Jif or Peter Pan makes a peanut & salt peanut butter. Or they did, I don't know if they do anymore. The natural foods section of your grocery store also probably has something like it.

If you own a food processor, you could just make your own. As long as you store it in the fridge, it'll keep for a long time.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:42 PM on October 12, 2011

Oh, Belladonna has it. Smuckers Natural is what I was thinking of.
posted by thinkingwoman at 7:43 PM on October 12, 2011

Adam's is at my Costco. But most stores seem to have housebrands that are all natural. My peanut butter just says "peanuts". Now, if you want organic, you might need to go to Whole Foods and get their house brand. I imagine, though, that you are hoping for Costco prices. In that case, check to see if they carry Adams.
posted by Chaussette and the Pussy Cats at 9:03 PM on October 12, 2011

Costco rides its suppliers pretty hard. If Costco can't hit the price point or they find a more attractive brand-name product that's "equivalent," they don't hesitate to drop products.
posted by wnissen at 9:23 PM on October 12, 2011

Yeah, if I wanted something like that I would go to the bulk aisle at Whole Foods where you grind peanuts into peanut butter right in front of your own eyes.
posted by Night_owl at 10:17 PM on October 12, 2011

Mr Sunny asked about it this weekend. He was told that they will only carry 4,000 items at a time, and so the peanut butter was dropped in favor of another product. I suspect peanut prices were a factor in that decision.
posted by annsunny at 10:20 PM on October 12, 2011

Now I need a food processor. As I have diverticulitis, I suspect a serious food processor moment with some pistachios would be all kinds of wonderful.
posted by Samizdata at 10:50 PM on October 12, 2011

Just a note--if you're at all sensitive to texture in your peanut butter, I don't think the Whole Foods 365 brand peanut butter will be a good substitute for the Kirkland Signature brand. I love, love, love the WF 365 peanut butter in both creamy and chunky because it's a bit... textured or even gritty (mmm little pieces of tiny peanut). On the other hand, I find Kirkland Signature peanut butter to be unpalatable in the extreme because it's very smooth with no texture at all.

If you really dig the smooth texture of Kirkland Signature you might have trouble finding a peanut+salt alternative that matches it in texture, as my experience has been that most natural peanut butters--even the non-chunky "smooth" ones--have a coarser grind and gritter texture. (This was also the determination of Cooks Illustrated in their recent taste test of smooth peanut butters, in the March 2011 issue.) The kitchn has a post on texture vs. taste in peanut butters and the comment thread has some suggestions for all-natural smooth peanut butters that are really creamy--might be something worth trying in there.
posted by iminurmefi at 9:14 AM on October 13, 2011

Very glad you asked this because I've been looking for it too for the last month or so. Whole Foods is too expensive; we've been using the Smuckers Natural as a substitute and it's fine, but I'm not thrilled about Smuckers in general so would prefer to find another brand. Will try Adam's.

posted by widdershins at 10:00 AM on October 13, 2011

Yep, the good salted, organic PB from Trader Joe's disappeared with a muted *poof* some weeks ago. My kids and I are sad about this. Can anyone who knows say whether the Whole Foods house brand (\mentioned above) is close enough in taste?
posted by wenestvedt at 1:17 PM on October 13, 2011

Hmmm, I just got back from a Trader Joe's run and picked up their conventional peanut butter (due in part to this thread) and it was only $1.79 per one pound jar--nothing but peanuts. I liked WF's grind-your-own, but it was $2.99/lb and also their CEO is a tool, so I stopped going there. (BTW, I'm in the SF Bay Area.)
posted by MikeKD at 1:51 PM on October 13, 2011

As someone who worked on the club store business (Costco, Sam's Club, B.J.'s) at Kellogg's HQ for a while, another part of why things appear and disappear is the "treasure hunt" factor. Costco wants you to keep coming back in part because you never know what new thing you might find. This, unfortunately, means that sometimes a beloved product is swapped out for something else.

I just bought a six-pack of Krema peanut butter from Amazon. It's just peanuts - no salt. It's not as thick as Smucker's.
posted by jocelmeow at 2:34 PM on October 13, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks to all of you for your timely and informative answers. Metafilter is amazing!
posted by Ginesthoi at 4:50 PM on October 13, 2011

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