Peanut butter, hazelnut paste, almond paste, pure cashew cream, 100% hazelnut cream and many more. So much can be found on the products available on supermarkets’ shelves and online.
All these definitions often create confusion in the mind of the buyer: am I buying a healthy product? Is there sugar in this product? And salt? I really want something sweet and satisfying, is this the right product for me?
In this article, we'll try to shed some light on this and give you the tools to navigate your way through the many names on the labels of spreads in circulation.
Nuts butter, nuts cream or nuts paste?
Let's start with an assumption: as far as spreadable products are concerned, there are no regulations at European level defining what is a butter, a cream or a paste. There is no definition of these terms in the regulations, which is why many companies use them indiscriminately or as synonyms.
However, there are often some sort of 'unwritten rules' that can be found quite frequently between products that can help us to understand more quickly which product we are dealing with:
The most famous and common is certainly 'peanut butter' that is always on screen in American films. As a general rule, in what is considered peanut butter, in addition to peanuts, there are often other ingredients such as sugar, emulsifiers and oils which are used to make the product taste better or to improve its consistency by making it thicker and more compact. The addition of vegetable fats (such as palm oil) has technological advantages, but when combined with sugar, which is sometimes found in peanut products, they increase the caloric intake.
The term ‘cream’, on the other hand, has a dual use and is used both when talking about spreadable creams which, in addition to nuts, also contain other ingredients (as it may be the case with the classic hazelnut and chocolate spreads which, in addition to cocoa, also contain vegetable oils and sugar), and when talking about products made exclusively from nuts. In the latter case, another specification is often added to the word ‘cream’: ‘100%’, ‘pure’ or a synonym. When talking about ‘100% nuts cream’ we refer to products obtained by grinding only and exclusively nuts (the most common creams are made of hazelnuts, almonds, peanuts and pistachios) without adding vegetable oils, such as palm oil, or sugars and sweeteners, salt, flavourings, emulsifiers or other additives. This implies that it is obviously a 'pure' product and therefore more subject to alterations that are perfectly natural (such as the separation of the oil from the fibrous and protein part of nuts used as an ingredient). The lack of emulsifiers means that the consistency is much less full-bodied, sometimes almost liquid.
When talking about ‘hazelnut paste’ or any other type of nuts, in most cases we are referring to a 100% nuts product. Often the term ‘paste’ is used to identify a semi-finished product suitable as an ingredient for confectionery preparations such as ice cream, creams, biscuits, chocolates. The difference from 100% nuts cream is therefore only in the denomination of the product. The term ‘cream’ gives the impression of a ready-to-eat product, whereas ‘paste’ gives the idea of a product that needs further processing before being eaten, although actually it could be the same type of food.
Given the lack of specific legislation regulating these terms, how can you avoid being misled by products on the market? The only way is to carefully read the ingredients list of the product you are buying to avoid making the wrong purchase. The rule is: the less a product is processed and ingredients are added, the more suitable it is for a healthy, balanced diet.
Where to buy 100% nuts creams?
You can buy them online on our online shop Nuturally. We at Nuturally use the wording ‘100% cream’ for all our spreadable nuts creams because our products can be used not only to enrich tasty recipes, but they can also be consumed as they are on a slice of bread, to garnish a yoghurt or pancakes for breakfast. They are made of 100% nuts without the addition of oil, additives or emulsifier and this can be read on the product label.