European peanut consumers gave two thumbs up to U.S. peanuts after evaluating peanuts from the United States, China and Argentina. The results of the consumer study coordinated by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) show that although U.S. peanuts come at a premium price, they also come as a premium product.
Timothy H. Sanders, research leader of the ARS Market Quality and Handling Research Unit in Raleigh, N.C., coordinated the project, which is called the European Peanut Consumer Research Study.
About 4.1 billion pounds of peanuts were produced by U.S. peanut growers during the 2003-2004 marketing year. Of that, just over one-tenth — 516 million pounds — was exported.
The U.S. peanut industry will use the findings to maintain current purchase levels by overseas buyers. And U.S. peanut exporters will use the findings for outreach in foreign markets.
Europe is the United States' largest export market. The European flavor test was conducted with 100 peanut consumers — screened for being "regular" buyers of peanuts or peanut products — each from London, Berlin and Amsterdam.
The combined study data show that the likelihood of consumer complaints about the flavor of U.S. peanuts would be virtually none. The data also indicate that European consumers would likely identify about 70 percent of Chinese lots and 40 percent of Argentine lots as problematic.
ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.