An Uphill Climb

Amanda-HuberAt the South Carolina peanut production meeting in late January, several speakers noted that domestic demand is growing only slightly at present and is not growing nearly enough to make a dent in the mountain of peanuts from 2015. In talking about what the National Peanut Board is doing to help spur demand, Ryan Lepicier, NPB senior vice president of marketing and communications, spent some time talking about the NPB’s target audience of “millennials,” who are age 20 to their early 30s.

While we all know that older generations love peanuts and peanut butter, he then said something that I had not thought of before. This group coming along is the first generation to be told not to bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to school. Their earliest recollection of peanut butter is negative because it was banned from their elementary schools or at least discouraged.

Another thought is that this group has grown up with a proliferation of other nut butters as alternatives to peanut butter. That’s quite an uphill climb to reach this generation.

Lepicier explained this group by saying, “Millennials consist of 80 million people. They are food and cultural trendsetters, and they have $1.6 trillion in spending power. They know about peanuts and peanut butter, they just are not excited about them.”
Lepicier went on to talk about several marketing tools, one of which you can read about on page 9, that are being used to attract millennials to the peanut industry. Honestly, although I somewhat understand what they are trying to do, it mostly goes over my head. Given that I am not the target audience, that’s probably a good thing.

And since I am in the “older” generation, that doesn’t have to be told about how great peanut butter is, I’ll keep eating as much as I can. ep supply in check. When and where will this bubble burst? Good question, but it can’t be far. Warnings about knowing where peanuts will be stored and not abandoning rotation schemes are the headlines at most production meetings.

Truthfully, it was more fun to look back at what’s been accomplished than it is to look ahead at the next couple years.