Fifth Official Product Review EVER: Barney Butter

I don’t mean to brag, but I’m well known in the almond butter aisle of the grocery store.

I’m a bit of an almond butter expert. I’m pretty much a fan of anything that one can eat with the aid of a spoon (yogurt, oatmeal, ice cream…), and almond butter just about tops that list. In fact, I’ve learned not to keep it around the apartment for fear of devouring a jar in one sitting.

I’ve sampled my fair share: name brands, store brands, smooth, crunchy, fresh ground, in jars, in packets, in a box, with a fox. While there is always that hint of je ne sais quoi, that which distinguishes it from peanut butter, every style has its own appeal. The smooth variety tends to have a strong flavor and to blend seamlessly into oatmeal. The crunchy demands to be eaten on its own, as one would a butterfinger, or maybe with a glass of milk. The fresh ground doesn’t get as oily, and it’s the freshest option.  And, of course, the individual serving packets, which force my hand at self control.

I was poking around the Amazon website, searching for almond butter and came across Barney Butter. When I reached out through the corporate email, the company’s president responded, agreeing to send me a few samples as well as providing information on the product.

According to the president, Ms. Dawn Kelley, Barney and Co. :

“uses premium California almonds, including Marcona (the best you can get).  We use a top grade of almond vs. a lower variety that some nut butters use, and we also blanch our almonds after roasting (we take the skin off, and are the only almond butter on the market using blanched almonds).  Because we blanch our almonds we have an ultra-smooth creamy texture, with no grit or bitterness.  Truly a remarkable tasting product. We small batch manufacture with only the finest natural ingredients.  Evaporated cane juice (just a touch), a pinch of sea salt, certified sustainable palm oil, and of course, top quality almonds.  We also manufacture ourselves in our own plant, which is peanut free and safe for people with peanut allergies.”

I usually eat almond butters without sugar added, but I found Ms. Kelley’s description compelling and was glad to give the product a whirl.

Mama butter and baby butter. Or regular and super-sized. Or here today, gone tomorrow (or sooner).

When the package arrived, I opened it to find two “Snack Packs” – .6 ounces of Barney Butter each – and one 1.06 ounce Single Serving Pack. I didn’t even have the decency to wait five minutes. I immediately tore open one of the Snack Packs and paired it with a banana.

The texture was thin and just shy of runny, which was a refreshing change. Listen, I like thick almond butter as much as the next person. However, I’ve been buying another brand in single serving packets, and it’s like kneading bread just to get the almond butter to blend before opening the packet. And then I inevitably have to scrape it with my teeth when I’m done. Barney Butter, on the other hand, spread easily onto my banana. The color was also super light, and I’m guessing both of these features are attributable to the removal of the skins.

See? Light in color and extra smooth. Fun fact: my name rhymes with banana.

The flavor was first salty and then sweet, reminiscent of Jif or Skippy peanut butter but with a subtle almond taste. This is probably a good time to share that I try to avoid peanuts. I’m not hyper-allergic to them, but I feel better when I don’t indulge (remember, I have a lot of inflammation issues). So the Barney Butter provided a pleasant flashback to the peanut butter of my childhood.

I could most certainly see myself slathering this stuff all over rice cakes…or cookies or vanilla ice cream, for that matter. FYI, ingredients include almonds, evaporated cane juice, palm fruit oil, and sea salt; so if you’re exclusively into the all natural version (i.e. – no sugar added), this almond butter is not for you. The company carries Barney Bare, which does not contain added sugar or salt, but I didn’t sample that variety.

At .6 ounces, the Snack Pack contains: calories 90, total fat 7.5g, saturated fat .75g, sodium 50mg (1%), total carb 4g, dietary fiber 1.5g, sugars 1.5g, protein 3g. The larger pack is 1.06 ounces but strangely the nutrition facts are double; maybe it’s a rounding error.

A major downside I experienced is that my serving size felt rationed with the Snack Pack. After I was done with my banana, I wanted a couple more tastes of almond butter, but it was all gone. Perhaps you would be content with less, but I was left unsatisfied and would buy the larger packet in the future.

We played hide and go seek. The Barney Butter won; I couldn’t find it.

Another observation worth noting is that the subtle flavor doesn’t hold up well in oatmeal. I used the larger 1.06 ounce packet for a serving of oatmeal, and the flavor mostly disappeared. It by no means ruined the oatmeal, but I struggled to detect the Barney Butter flavor. Again, maybe this is due to the removal of the skins.

As far as pricing goes, Barney Butter seems to be at the premium end of the market. I compared prices on Amazon, and this is what I found:

cost ounces per ounce cost
Barney Butter smooth 16oz jars $    22.69 48 $0.47
Barney Butter smooth 10oz jars $    16.56 30 $0.55
Barney Butter .6 oz packets $    10.71 14.4 $0.74
Barney Butter 1.6 oz packets $    20.00 25.44 $0.79
Maranatha Costco $       6.99 26 $0.27
Justin’s 32 ounce packets – honey $    23.14 34.5 $0.67
Justin’s jars 16oz – honey $    25.62 48 $0.53

I recognize that my table doesn’t create an apples-to-apples comparison of products. After all, some of those almond butters have added sugars, some are in the form of convenient single serving packets, and others are in large jars. Yet, the table generally achieves its intended purpose: a “bang for your buck” comparison.

‘Tis the season to eat Barney (Butter). Fa la la la la la la la la. I’ll have to re-assess when I head out to hike the A.T. in the Spring.

As you can see, the almond butter available at Costco blows all of the other options out of the water in terms of price. I daresay it’ll be extremely difficult for me to turn down that option for my A.T. hike given the price, especially considering the large quantity I intend to consume over the six month trek. However, in the meantime, I seriously plan to begin purchasing the individual serving packets to keep at the office. Keep in mind that I buy the single servings for portion control anyway; measured against my current brand, Barney Butter wins hands-down. Not only is the salty/sweet taste delicious, but not having to aggressively scrape the packet in an attempt to free a thick butter from the edges of the wrapping is worth the small price premium.

Meandering on,

Jordana

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8 thoughts on “Fifth Official Product Review EVER: Barney Butter

  1. you should try making your own! It is seriously so easy and will save you a ton of money. I make mine for the cost of almonds.. basically a 16oz jar costs about $7.. so much cheaper than buying in the store! All you need is a food processor which can be expensive $50-100, but you will be happy to have anyway 🙂

    p.s. I also could eat this stuff by the jar.. oh well haha

    • I have made my own before, but to be honest, Costco is way cheaper. I can get a 26 ounce jar for $6.99…and that’s after the recent price hike. It used to be $5.79 for the jar!

      • oh wow.. I don’t have Costco anywhere nearby unfortunately so for me its definitely cheaper to make my own. Peanut butter is probably cheaper at the store even for natural but I kind of enjoy making it anyway so I don’t mind 🙂

  2. I have never eaten almond butter. Probably because my deep deep love of almonds and my deep deep love of peanut butter will mean that almond butter will be my food nemesis, the only thing I cannot say no to, and I will continue to buy and eat and buy and eat until I explode or run out of money (whichever comes first).

    • How do you feel about chocolate? And what about hazelnut? Don’t even get me started on Nutella.

      And, as long as you’ve revealed your love of almonds, have you ever tried marzipan? Oh. My. Gah. My favorite. I may try to convince someone to send me bars of it during my trek.

  3. I thought of you the other day, and something you said once about phases where you eat the same thing over and over for a period of time. Why? Because right now I’m a recovering pumpkin pie addict. They say it takes 28 days to form a habit… I think 3 is quite sufficient.

    Need. More. Pie.

    • Aww, you thought of me? That’s awesome!

      Let me tell you, pumpkin pie is my absolute favorite pie ever. I had two very large wedges (without the crust…gluten) on Thanksgiving and then a couple smaller ones the day after. Yesterday, it took every ounce of will power not to purchase a pumpkin pie from the grocery store when I went to pick up eggs. I have been known to eat an entire pie in one sitting (OK, this happened once, but I’ll own it).

      Good luck with your pumpkin pie withdrawal (…if you choose to go that route).

  4. Pingback: Bangin’ Box of Barney Butter « My Meandering Trail

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