No Nuts Pea Butter Branches Out with Award-Winning Chocolate and Other Flavours (PCN Fall 2015) OCT 1 2015 | Consumers and Producers | Pulse Crop News
This article appeared in the Fall 2015 issue of Pulse Crop News.
Everything’s better with chocolate, and the 2015 Alberta Food Awards agreed that was absolutely true when it came to Alberta-made No Nuts Pea Butter.
The new No Nuts Chocolate Pea Butter in single portion packs was named the Most Innovative product at the Alberta Food Processors Association’s 2015 Alberta Food Awards.
Norm and Caryll Carruthers, owners of Mountain Meadows Food Processing in Legal, were delighted to have their new product recognized by the industry.
“It’s very exciting,” Caryll remarked. “There were a lot of excellent products that we weren’t aware of before and the competition was stiff.”
The couple developed the chocolate version of their pea butter in response to the popularity of chocolate nut butters. The No Nuts version continues to be free of 11 common allergens, including nuts, milk and gluten as the chocolate flavour comes from the addition of only cocoa powder.
The No Nuts Chocolate Pea Butter will soon be available in grocery stores including Save-On Foods, Sunterra Markets, Freson Bros and Nutter’s Stores in portion packs and full-size jars, along with two other new flavours: Cinnamon and Extra Creamy.
“We’re working on getting the portion packs in six-packs for retail,” Norm explained. “It’s handy for kids’ lunches as many schools are nut-free and the portion packs are easier for dipping.”
Norm and Caryll are working on expanding the number of grocery stores that carry their products, and also have plans to launch additional convenience versions of their products, including individual portions of apples or gluten-free crackers with No Nuts Pea Putter.
The product bearing the slogan ‘The best thing on sliced bread’ is also a fantastic dip for fruit, breadsticks, crackers, or even just a spoon, Caryll noted.
Mountain Meadows contracts farmers between Athabasca and Red Deer to grow mild-flavoured brown peas. Norm grew a crop of the brown peas on his 400-acre farm last year and said he likes to run a four-year rotation.
Caryll added that they like the peas for No Nuts Pea Butter to be grown on canola ground to ensure that the product remains gluten-free.
“We had enough carry-over for two years so we didn’t grow any this year,” Norm said. “We like to carry over a two or three-year supply for dry years like this.”
No Nuts Pea Butter was developed by Legal-area farmer Joe St. Denis after he first tried hummus made with chickpeas in India about 25 years ago, Norm said of his friend.
“He thought we could grow peas in Alberta and find a variety that could replace the chickpea to produce hummus,” Norm explained. “In that process, he came up with a product that smelled like peanut butter and came up with this pea butter.”
Caryll worked as the new company’s business manager, and Norm helped out with the development of a processing plant since they were both retired at the time.
“There’s no place in the world that makes this product and we had to create everything ourselves,” said Norm, adding that he and Caryll purchased the company in 2004.
Mountain Meadows now has five full-time employees including the owners, and eight Legal area residents who work on the production line when a batch is being made to be sold across Canada, as well as New York and Pennsylvania.
After more than a decade, the couple believe in their product more than ever.
“I really love what we’re doing,” Caryll said. “I love to cook and to bake, and being a new product you can experiment in all sorts of ways. We have a lot of recipes and started taking pictures for a recipe book but we got too busy.”
People who try No Nuts Pea Butter usually like it, but the most difficult part is getting people to try it, Norm said. He and Caryll hope that International Year of Pulses in 2016 will encourage more people to seek out products like theirs that are made with pulses.
“International Year of Pulses is a good opportunity to educate people about the value of pulses,” Caryll said. “The North American population doesn’t know the value of pulses. They don’t realize peas and lentils are such a good source of protein and they are economical too.”
Learn more about No Nuts Pea Butter at www.peabutter.ca. The website features pea butter recipes including Peabutter Rocky Roads, Peabutter Monster Cookies, Pea Butter Cookie Dough Bars, Peabutter Bacon Truffles, and more.