Mars Chocolate, the maker of Snickers and M&M candy, will use 100 percent high oleic peanuts in their candy products by 2017. “We use 90 percent high oleic peanuts now,” said Anne-Marie DeLorenzo, Mars strategic sourcing manager, nuts.
DeLorenzo, speaking at the Southern Peanut Growers Conference July 22 in Destin, Fla., says candy consumers want quality. “We want to make sure our customers get the best quality available.”
High oleic peanuts, she explains, are much less likely to break down and go rancid. “High oleic does not necessarily have a longer shelf life,” she says, “but products retain their integrity.”
She says the message for the industry should be about quality. “If a consumer eats something and doesn’t like it, he’s not likely to go back to it,” she says.
The push for high oleic candy products has been “full force for the last five years,” DeLorenzo says. “We’ve gotten a lot of peanuts out of the Southwest.” Southwest peanut production made the move to high oleic several years ago. All recent variety releases have been high oleic.
The trend is picking up in the Southeast, she says. “All the new varieties released last year were high oleic.” DeLorenzo says farmers are beginning to switch. “A lot of that has to do with the varieties available today.”
She adds that consumers do not want to eat a rancid peanut.