When I first set eyes on Trader Joe’s Almond Butter, my heart did a little leap. After all, the last time Trader Joe’s unveiled a new butter, it was an epochal, life-changing event. History had prepared me for another smash hit. Unfortunately, history was setting me up for a fall. This new almond butter is a very average spread with little to recommend it.
Both new almond butters are the “stir” variety, with a thick layer of oil on top that needs to be mixed in before using. This is, as always, the tell tale sign of the “natural” nut butter. Trader Joes’ creamy and crunchy almond butters follow in this proud, healthy tradition. Salt has been added, but only 60 mg which is rock bottom by commercial standards, and sugar is at a minimum, with only 2 grams per serving. Of course, that means it lacks that tongue pleasing tingle that you get with additive laden, less healthy butters, but a little mouth-plastering blandness has ever been the price for healthful eating.
All of that’s fine by me. In both taste and nutrition it’s about the same as the natural, stir peanut butters that Trader Joe’s offers, but that is exactly my problem – there’s no meaningful difference netween these almond butters and their peanut counterparts. Even in taste, we’re only talking about a very subtle change to the underlying nuttiness of the spread, one that you might be able to identify in a side-by-side taste test but which, when incorporated into a sandwich etc, is practically interchangeable with a natural peanut butter.
If there’s something I’m missing here, please clue me in to it. Frankly, I don’t see the appeal or rationale for almond butter. There are, I’m aware, people with peanut allergies. Is that the whole market almond butter was made for? At the risk of sounding intolerant, I think we can all agree that these “people” should simply acclimate to life in the margins of society. Suck it up, peanut allergienes!
I really, really do not understand almond butter. Yes, we can make our nut butters out of things other than peanuts, and we can make car tires out of wood and books that are 25 feet tall. We can do a lot of things – but a lot of things don’t make sense to do. It’s not like we’re talking about hazelnut butter here, which brings a totally new and delicious taste to the table. Now, I’m always a proponent of a broad selection and innovation in the food market – but only to the extent that it makes sense, and almond butter doesn’t make sense to me. It’s like laboring tirelessly to create Hydrox cookies, then trying to sell them for more than Oreos.
Aside from aiding the peanut sensitive, there really doesn’t seem to be a good reason for almond butter to exist. Jokes aside, I am glad that it exists for that reason at least. My heart really does go out to people who suffer from peanut allergies. I can only imagine the nightmare of living in a world where the peanut, one of the most widely used foodstuffs, has the power to incapacitate and/or kill you. Peanuts are tiny. They could be anywhere. Not to mention that they’re often incorporated with absolute stealth into a bewilderingly huge assortment of food product, and the only tip off is a tiny line of small type hidden under the bar code. That’s like living in a war zone where all the enemies are invisible, but give you a quick “Heads up!” before opening fire.
Ulitmately, I feel about Trader Joe’s Almond Butter about the same way I feel about their sunflower seed butter – good on them for giving us more options, but there’s nothing compelling about the product, unless it be the brief, sad thrill of the blandest form of rebellion conceivable. “Forget what those mainstream losers are doing – I’m putting almond butter on my sandwich.”
No sir, it doesn’t make sense to me at all. You can leave me with Better’n Peanut Butter for my PB alternative.
Would I Recommend It: No, unless you have peanut allergies.
Would I Buy It Again: Never.
Final Synopsis: 90% identical to peanut butter, only more expensive.