Someone Has Been Messing With My Almond Butter

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One of the reasons I go to Costco is to stock up on almond butter. Recently, they replaced the MaraNatha Creamy Almond Butter glass jars with plastic jars. I noticed the ounces were the same, so I assume the product inside the jar was unchanged. About two servings into the jar, it struck me just how creamy it was. It seemed almost watery.

I did some digging and discovered that the Costco version of the MaraNatha Creamy Almond Butter has been thinned out. The price is still the same, but you are getting less almond butter. The product sold on their corporate site and others appears to be the same. This may just be a Costco thing.

The glass jar version had 23 servings at 190 calories. This plastic jar version has 23 servings at 180 calories. Same price, less product.

almond-butter

The glass jar version. Happier times.

They removed 230 calories of almond butter from every jar. Now it is too creamy. Who is to blame? Costco or MaraNatha or both? I don’t know. What I do know is the taste of the product has suffered and I’ll be buying the fresh ground stuff from Central Market and Fred Meyer going forward.

Every month that goes by, Costco gives me one less reason to shop there.

UPDATE July 28, 2011: Today I received this comment from Ted.

I would prefer the glass jars too, however the product inside is identical, 180 calories per serving , same as it was in the last batch of glass jars I purchased. The ingredients are only almonds so there is no thinning out. I checked with the company and they confirmed this.

That didn’t sound right to me, since when I wrote my original almond butter post in June 2010, I used 190 calories in my calculations. Lucky for me, I saved a few older jars. What did I find? MarthaNatha did have 190 calories per serving, but they switched to the 180 calories (the thin version) prior to switching to plastic jars. It was only when the almond butter went to pastic jars did I taste the difference.

If MarthaNatha is claiming that the recipe for this product has not changed, then they are being dishonest. They thinned the product BEFORE they made the switch to plastic jars, but they did in fact thin their product. Look at the photo below.

almond-butter-label

Costco is not the guilty party. MaraNatha is to blame.

UPDATE August 1, 2011: MaraNatha is now selling “No Stir” Almond Butter in both Creamy and Crunchy. They are in glass jars and they use the original 190 calories per serving recipe.

53 thoughts on “Someone Has Been Messing With My Almond Butter

  1. Marian

    I bought a jar on my last trip and noticed the plastic but didn’t notice any change in taste. I assume somebody made the switch to save on shipping, since plastic is so much lighter than glass. I don’t think I’ve seen Maranathanut butters in anything but glass before in “health food stores” like PCC.

  2. Sheila

    Why oh why are some companies switching to toxic plastic containers?

    At least that is how I see it, I will not even drink bottled water in plastic containers.

  3. John

    Blame the Federal Reserve and the massive 2008 bailouts. You can’t double the amount of currency in circulation without it showing up in prices eventually. Companies are trying to hold the line on increasing food prices. Smaller portions for the same price is one way. Cheaper (in both senses of the word) packaging is another, thus the plastic substituted for glass.

  4. @John – Agreed. It is Bernanke’s fault. His disastrous economic policy has made my almond butter creamy. Now it’s personal. 🙂

  5. Jennifer

    So disappointed! Noticed the same things in the last “jar” I bought from Costco. I won’t be buying any more.

  6. Jeff

    I just noticed the same thing last week at the local Costco — MaraNatha almond butter in plastic jars. It’s very odd, since the front page of MaraNathafoods.com says “We always jar our nut butters in glass to ensure the freshest product possible for our consumers. Glass is also more easily recycled and better for the environment as it does not rely on petro chemicals or fossil fuels.”

    Trader Joes is where I’ll be buying my glass-jarred almond butter from now on…

  7. Ginny

    I noticed the plastic container about a month ago when I bought the Marantha Almond Butter at Costco but the taste was the same. This month however, the taste and constistency haa changed for the worse, very runny and taste is awful.
    I won’t be buying it anymore either.

  8. Linda

    I am very disappointed with the change in Maranatha Almond Butter from Costco since they put it in plastic jars.
    It is does not have the same taste or consistency as before.
    Too runny. I use to eat it by the spoonful and loved it, but will have to find another brand I guess.

  9. ted

    I would prefer the glass jars too, however the product inside is identical, 180 calories per serving , same as it was in the last batch of glass jars I purchased. The ingredients are only almonds so there is no “thinning out”. I checked with the company and they confirmed this.

  10. @Ted I posted on this product months ago. I copied the calories per serving. It was higher. The original blend was clearly thicker. I’ve consumed 50 plus jars of the stuff. It is not the same.

  11. Jeff

    Apparently Costco shoppers don’t get the quality stuff– in reply to my query to Marnatha (Hain-Celestial) about the discrepancy between their website and the jars at Costco, I received the following:

    “We apologize the information on our website is incorrect. While all of our retail sized jars are offered in glass, the Nut Butter sold in 26 oz size at Costco is in plastic. We have let our Leadership Team know our customers prefer glass and also informed our webmaster to update our website information. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”

    Note that I never did receive a reply to my query posted to the Maranatha “contact us” page. I only received a response when I sent email to [email protected]

    They’re also going to send out some coupons for my feedback, so take a minute to let them know your displeasure about the plastic jars.

  12. @Jeff – Thanks for the research.

    My Costco membership expired and I don’t plan to renew. I located a store here in Seattle that sells the “no stir” (Classic) version in glass jars. However, it is more expensive than getting the fresh ground stuff. So, I am now buying the fresh almond butter.

    This post is now #1 on Google for the search “Maranatha almond butter plastic” and “Maranatha almond butter glass”.

  13. Mike

    MAS@ How is it possible to “thin out” something when it only has one ingredient. Did you consider that they may have used a different method to measure calories? If you are concerned that it is “thinned out”. Let it settle for a couple of weeks and pour off a little of the oil that comes to the top.

  14. @Mike – How did they thin it out? Beats me, but they have. I suspect it has a higher ratio of almond oil to almond solids. Still a single ingredient, but with different textures. I don’t know for certain how it is being done.

    What I do know is that Maranatha now sells a NO STIR version of their almond butter that is the same calories and texture as what used to be their default.

    http://www.maranathafoods.com/category/almond-butters/no-stir

    Costco used to carry a version that was – by their labels – 190 calories per 2 tablespoons. Then Costco started carrying a runny version that was 180 calories by 2 tablespoons. Now MN carries a NO STIR version which is the same as the classic version at 190 calories per 2 tablespoons.

  15. Malarie

    @Mike – there are many products that are thinned out, but don’t require additional ingredients to be included on the labels. Think about nonfat yogurts and milks. In order to make non-fat dairy products creamy, they add powdered milk. Is it on the label? Nope. However, there could be no added ingredients – they could have simply just “whipped” the almond butter, to make it light and fluffy, which may be why you don’t have to stir.

  16. Anita Hile

    Mike wrote, “Let it settle for a couple of weeks and pour off a little of the oil that comes to the top.” I would do that anyway when it was in glass and just eat it in a dryer state. However, you can’t do that with the “newer” no stir version and noticed it taste rancid. My usual habit at Costco was to buy one or two jars every trip and stock up. Recently trying to cut back on expenses I let my stock dwindle down and had to restock. Well this last batch (I bought 4 jars and opened 2) tastes terrible, very rancid so I will be taking all 4 back and complaining to Costco. I will also follow the link Jeff posted to voice a formal complaint to Hain. I am so disappointed as this was a staple in my diet and made it more affordable to me.

  17. @Anita – I started going to grocery stores that have grinders that let you make your own almond butter. It costs more, but it is SO MUCH more thick that you end up using less product.

  18. Thelma

    Great reading, but a disappointing development just the same. As like most of you, this has become a staple of our diets, and Costco makes it reasonably affordable.

    My feedback – I have been preferring the smoother version recently. I hadn’t noticed a difference in taste, but definitely runnier, which translates into less butter on my morning toast due to the reduced viscosity of the latest version. In the past, as I got to the bottom of that glass jar, I would end up putting mini-mountains of “butter” chunks on my toast. So, perhaps this is the taste difference people are experiencing – less butter per serving. Personally, I used to hate having to dig the last 15% of the jar out with a knife that just was not long enough to do the job properly.

    Now, this week my wife says she hates the new version – says it tastes like plastic. Now I know how this is going to play out…my senses will be on alert, and I will undoubtedly also begin “tasting the plastic”, either real or imagined. And yes, we will unfortunately have to look for other alternatives…hope they change back, but I am not holding my breath.

  19. LaShay

    I’ve purchased the MaraNatha brand almond butter in crunchy from Wal-Mart so I was oh so delighted when I saw it at Costco yesterday. I was somewhat disappointed that they didn’t have the “crunchy” version but I still purchased it…..Once I opened it and tasted it TALK ABOUT A DIFFERENCE!!!!! I know that with natural butters that there is a separation of oil at the top; however, I personally think that they added additional oil to replace the missing almond butter. It’s unnaturally runny! I definitely WILL NOT purchase the one from Costco ever again! I might even contact customer service!

  20. @LaShay – Please do contact MaraNatha customer service. If they try and tell you that they didin’t “thin out” the product, direct them to this page where I have the evidence they did.

  21. Thelma

    I dunno. I live in Canada, and the nutrition facts are reported per 1 Tablespoon…and for 1 Tbsp (16g)…100 calories…I wouldn’t put too much merit in the whole 180 calories, 190 calories, 200 calories debate (100 calories x 2 for a 2 Tbsp serving) as evidence pf “thinning out” the product. I’ll chalk it up as a rounding error. If you use my plastic jar’s nutrition facts as gospel, then you should be making the 2-hour drive north to Vancouver and be buying your almond butter here across the border. And if they did “thin” the product out, then since fat is about as calorie-rich as it comes, then your thinned out version should have been even more calorie-rich, not less (alright, I’m not a nutritionist, so feel free to correct me on this one).

    All I’m saying is, a label is not proof of anything. Rather, I would base things on abservation and personal experience. I agree, the product is not what it once was. However, I am heartened by the fact that it is noticeably thicker than it was 6 months ago…I am now back to digging out solid remnants from the bottom of the jar.

    So, I remain perplexed…and still working on finishing about 4 jars in my pantry. Based on my recent experience, I might buy again since it seems thicker…but I won’t remain loyal for long it it reverts…

  22. @Thelma – I am guilty of buying 1 jar last week. I was in a pinch and I needed some almond butter cheap. It is still thin here. The NO STIR version, which is thicker, is much more expensive.

  23. mandy

    I found this website by searching rancid tasting almond butter and low and behold you’re discussing the brand I bought. Im new to this brand but not almond butter. I got the no stir in glass from my local grocer and the moment I put some in my mouth I immediately thought it was rancid. It tasted so very wrong. It reminded me of when I found some peanut butter in my grandmas cupboard that unbeknownst to me was three years past its expiration date. Yeah, something is definitely up with this stuff.

  24. @Mandy – I’m sorry to hear that the No-Stir version has its problems too. I have found that I really like the almond butter varieties sold by Trader Joes. They have one with sea salt. yum!

  25. Paula

    This was my first try of this product and the taste seems to be a little off, doesn’t taste like fresh almonds, almost stale. I submitted this same info to their website and got a response saying they would get back to me soon but have yet to receive any further emails?

  26. @Paula – 2 weeks ago I tried the MarthaNatha one more time. It is clearly an inferior almond butter. Tasted stale compared to the Trader Joes brand. I was going to just use it for baking, but now the only thing I would use it for is food for an emergency shelter.

  27. Steve Holt

    For Xmas… I received a gift box of Kettle brand foods from some good friends of ours. After radically changing my diet on January 1st and losing 27lbs I switched to almond butter after tasting the Kettle foods brand.

    So after searching for other ways to change my diet came upon Dr. Oz recommending Maranatha. So I got a jar and LOVED it. Then, as everyone else has found, I bought a jar at COSTCO and… it was stale, rancid, old whatever you want to call it. I called Maranatha and they are seeing me some coupons. I will be taking it back to COSTCO tomorrow.

    THEN!! I went to my local Kroger where I bought the first jar… and once again with excitement I was let down… Stale, rancid and old! I have done nothing about it yet but, I will tomorrow!

    With all that said… I’m done with Maranatha! I may make my own!

    @mas: What brand do you like?

  28. @Steve Holt – I like Trader Joes almond butter. They have at least 3 versions. I like them all. However, the BEST almond butter comes from grocery stores that allow you to grind almonds fresh. In Seattle two that come to mind are Fred Meyers and Central Market. My guess is Whole Foods and PCC also have the same grinder.

  29. Paula

    Got rid of one cup of mine this morning with a cookie recipe I found on NPR’s website, however, didn’t have maple syrup which I wouldn’t have wasted in the recipe with this product regardless. The stale taste was still there but sugared down with the brown/white sugar the recipe called for and much better than consuming ir alone. I got another email from them which asked for UPC code, exp date, and I replied with the info but no explanation for the stale taste.

  30. leslie

    Funny thing I noticed costco giving out free samples of marthanatha almond butter on crackers a few weeks ago.

  31. Kat

    I haven’t seen Marantha Almond Butter at my Costco lately, but the last couple of jars I bought were plastic and I thought they tasted rancid. But I wasn’t sure so I ate it anyway. Now I see that I am not the only one who got the rancid almond butter.

    I haven’t seen the no-stir almond butter at my Costco, but I have seen it in other stores. Personally, I don’t mind stirring the nut butter and I would rather have the natural almond oil than palm oil (which is a saturated fat).

    What I liked about Marantha is that it is gluten free, but I’m not going to buy rancid almond butter! I also noticed that the last 2 bags of Kirkland almonds I bought smell rancid. They have “Best Before” 08/08/13 and 09/07/13.

    There were other items I bought at Costco I was very unhappy with and I returned. One was a bag of frozen mixed berries. The raspberries in it all tasted moldy. The other was a bag of frozen blueberries that were so under ripe and sour, they were like eating lemons. I can’t help but wonder what’s going on. Doesn’t Costco have buyers who set out certain standards to their suppliers? Are the suppliers foisting off their low quality, spoiled foods onto Costco? If so, why is there no quality testing of the products that Costco is receiving? I guess I’d better complain to Costco…

  32. wildman, F

    I live in almond growing country & can tell you that all almonds are not the same – they vary by variety, year & season growing conditions. Low cost almonds can vary a lot & they don’t use limited supplies of best quality almonds to make almond butter. The almonds you find & grind fresh in a retail grocery store will be the better quality nuts, so the butter they make will be better quality, too.

    If what you buy is rancid or stale, that’s the nuts they used & they were too old or not stored properly – the company definitely needs to be called about that – it’s dangerous.

    Remember that you get what you pay for, sometimes it works out OK or better, but don’t expect there will never be problems with anything that grows. You have to be an educated consumer to stay safe.

  33. @wildman – Thanks for the info. I agree. Since this post was written 1.5 years ago, I have switched to buying regular almonds or I go to stores where I can grind my own.

  34. Mel

    One comment on the No-Stir varieties – they contain palm oil and sugar. Just an FYI for those avoiding sugar.

  35. pat

    Don’t care about the plastic, but I hate soupy almond butter. It actually pours out of the container. Disgusting.

  36. Jeff

    Good news– my local Costco (central Ohio) is now stocking MaraNatha almond butter in GLASS JARS again. I’m not sure if this is a Costco-wide thing or just in response to local demand; if you’re not seeing it in your local Costco, definitely fill out a comment card at the service desk.

  37. Angelo

    I was searching the web looking for an answer to why Costco has not been stocking almond butter anymore (at least in my part of Canada), and I stumbled across this site. I too noticed a couple of years ago how the almond butter suddenly was extremely runny and thought it had been thinned, but there was only one ingredient listed. How? More almond oil maybe? So what about the almonds where the oil came from? Premium versions , i.e. non-runny, being sold elsewhere? Then they came in plastic, then just before they disappeared altogether, glass returned! What’s going on?

  38. @Angelo – This post is 2 years old now and the mystery continues. So many unanswered questions. I’ve decided I’m not going to buy anything more from MaraNatha. They’ve lost me as a customer forever.

    If I need almond butter, I’ll use one of those “grind it yourself” in the store machines.

  39. Ashlee

    I’ve noticed too that it seems way more watered down. When I read this I checked my label and from my Costco here in Canada it’s 100 calories per 1 tbsp so if yours is 2tbsp = 200 cals a serving. Same jar same num of servings. So if mine has gotten runny yours must be straight liquid. But there is without a doubt a difference I’ve eaten the stuff for years. The bottom part of the jar used to actually get dry if you didn’t stir enuff now it’s runny all the way thru. Here’s a tip for not having to stir just put the jar upside down in your pantry before opening and the oil will run thru 🙂 I’ll keep buying mine from costco cuz we are a big family and can’t afford the fresh ‘good’ stuff and I actually like that it doesn’t get dry nearing the end of the jar anymore……and it can’t be as bad as what the Costco’s in the states are selling!

  40. Leah

    Normally, I’d buy fresh almonds on sale and make homemade almond butter. This time I decided to purchase maranatha no stir almond butter from my local sprouts. First time buyer so no assumptions going in. Not happy that it has a slight rancid taste. I will not be buying it again, but I’m stuck with this crappy jar of nasty almond butter.

  41. Frank

    I just bought some of the Marantha almond butter at Costco last night in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and was very disappointed. It came in the plastic jar and tasted rancid. The expiry date is August 2014. I came upon this site when I looked it up online and decided to share my experience.

  42. Frank

    A comment for Ashlee:

    One thing I’d like to mention though is that not everyone tastes that rancid taste. My friend doesn’t taste what I’m talking about. I’m not sure if all of the jars at costco are bad, but I’d have someone with a delicate tongue taste it before buying more. A lot of people just eat anything. If you are buying almond butter I’m guessing it’s because you are trying to be healthier. Eating rancid oils is very very bad for your health..

  43. Shirley Frandsen

    I have purchased Maranatha Organic Almond Butter-Creamy for a number of years. I have loved it. Of late I find the jars contain a much higher amount of oil on top…easier to stir, and remains runny even in refrigeration. What has happened to my delicious Organic Creamy Almond Butter? I have purchased direct from the company, but as of late purchased from Swanson’s online. Please let me know how to get the true Almond Butter I have always loved.

  44. @Shirley – My best advice is to go to a grocery store where you can make your almond butter with their grinder. It is the best almond butter you will get.

  45. KA

    fda.gov
    Maranatha AND OTHERS peanut and almond butter recall as of yesterday (8/19/14).
    Please be cautious and check your supplies.
    And yes, it is REALLY runny now – I cannot even get it to stir together anymore.

  46. This crap is so runny i started putting 2 +2 together. Hain (Maranatha) sells almond oil and it is not cheap. i’m guessing the corporate thugs who care about profit above all else figured that after they remove the high calorie/high fat almond oil for resale they could blend a much cheaper oil (canola?) back in and put a bit extra in for further profit. Just a theory but i’d lay my money down on it.

  47. Marion Clair

    After trying MaraNatha Almond Butter on two separate occasions from two separate glass containers, one purchased at Costco, the other at Safeway, I concluded both were stale tasting and not even close to as flavorful and fresh as the Kettle brand crunchy almost butter I had eaten before. I wish they would change their recipe and refrain from the use of plastic jars.

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