Monday, July 2, 2012

Pass the Peanuts Please!

As you can see we've already been digging in to these!

We also mentioned a few posts back that we'd be reviewing peanuts, which are a big hit in our household right now. Dry Roasted, lightly salted peanuts, to be exact. This was another case where we thought "peanuts are peanuts, so they can't be that different... right?" Well we were wrong! When it comes to dry roasted peanuts, there were some distinct differences between the Great Value Dry Roasted Peanuts and the Planters Lightly Salted Dry Roasted Peanuts, even though they are basically just peanuts.

Price: At first glance, the Great Value peanuts appear to be significantly cheaper than the Planters peanuts, but that's because, once again, the generic package contained less than the brand name version (14 oz. vs. 16 oz.). We're finding this is pretty common, that the Great Value version contains less per package than its name brand counterpart. So after figuring out how much the cost was per ounce, we found the generic cost 15% less than the brand name version (btw, is it "brand name" or "name brand"? We just realized we've been using these interchangeably on this blog and are not sure which is correct... if either!).

Ingredients: Of course these both included peanuts and salt, but we were surprised by all the extra flavorings included in the Great Value peanuts (did you know onion powder and garlic powder are used to flavor peanuts? Also do people really care if their peanuts are a certain color?):

Planters: peanuts, sea salt, maltodextrin, cornstarch, corn syrup solids

Great Value: peanuts, sea salt, sugar, corn starch, maltodextrin, torula yeast, corn syrup solids, paprika (color), hydrolyzed soy protein, natural smoke flavor, onion powder, spices, garlic powder (what do they mean by "spices," by the way??)

Calories/Nutritional Information: The name brand and generic peanuts had almost the same amount of  fat and calories, with the name brand coming out with 10 more calories and 1 additional gram of fat per serving. The sodium count was the big difference, with the generic peanuts containing over twice the amount of sodium (170 mg) per serving as the name brand peanuts (80 mg). The name brand peanuts also had slightly more potassium, slightly fewer carbohydrates, and 1 g more protein than the generic peanuts per serving.

Appearance: the generic peanuts had a lot more crumbs/powder in the bottom of the container, which makes sense because they have a lot more stuff sprinkled on them (see ingredients above). You can tell by looking at the generic version (first photo below) that the peanuts are coated with spices and flavorings (and paprika, for color!). The Planters peanuts look "cleaner," or more like just plain peanuts.
Great Value

Generic vs. brand name

Texture/the chew test: these felt the same while chewing them - after all, when it comes down to it, a peanut is a peanut!

Taste: The Planters peanuts had a more "pure" fresh roasted taste - they tasted closer to regular peanuts, or more "clean," if that makes sense, and were less salty than the generic. The Great Value peanuts, on the other hand, had more taste, due to the various flavors that have been added to them.

Bottom line: if you base your choice on taste, it comes down to personal preference as to what you're looking for in your dry roasted peanuts (more like plain roasted peanuts or more flavorful?). However, you should definitely take into account the extra sodium in the generic (over double that of the brand name version) if you are watching your salt intake.


  1. I did the test during a party of 20+ people. I used great value vs planters with honey roasted peanuts and salted cashews. People preferred great value in both ways. These are just random people...

    1. We thought the great value peanuts definitely had more flavor!