Best creamy peanut butter? We rank the house brands

"How about peanut butter?," Karli Hannan suggested for Store Brand Scorecard. This request definitely got my attention, not only because Karli works for Big Papa Aol (parent to WalletPop), but also because I do enjoy some fine peanut butter. (Remember that Brad Pitt movie "Meet Joe Black," the one where he gets hit by the car, and then he comes back as Death and becomes obsessed with peanut butter? Totally relate–except for the hit by a car, being Death bit.)

The lesson today, Money College readers, is to try to make others happy that work within your circle. It certainly comes in handy when it comes to studying and networking. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. At the very least, you can show someone a bit of consideration. Plus in this case, I really wanted to see once and for all if Jif is, as its label says, really #1 (according to this mysterious secret society known as "Choosy Moms"). Was there any chance a store brand version of creamy peanut butter actually tasted better while costing less money?

All brands were purchased the weekend of June 25th at Chicago-area stores. Prices are subject to change.

Brand Name: Jif (The J.M. Smucker Company)
Cost: $2.22 at Walmart; $3.39 at a Chicago-area grocery store
Size: 18 oz.
Nutritional Facts: (for two tablespoons) 190 calories (130 from fat),16 grams of fat (25% recommended daily value), 150 milligrams of sodium (6% recommended daily value); 7 grams of total carbohydrates (2% recommended daily value)
Taste: Creamy and sticky, with just a smattering of sweetness, and plenty of peanut flavoring. Maybe those Choosy Moms are onto something.

The Big Box Store: Walmart
Brand Name:
Great Value
Cost:
$1.78
Size: 18 oz.
Nutritional Facts: (for two tablespoons) 190 calories (140 from fat),16 grams of fat (25% recommended daily value), 150 milligrams of sodium (6% recommended daily value); 7 grams of total carbohydrates (2% recommended daily value)
Taste: A touch too sweet for my tastes without as much peanut power, so it's not quite as good as Jif.

The Grocery Store: Jewel-Osco (a Supervalu store. Supervalu, no. 47 on the Fortune 500 list, also owns and operates such grocery retail chains as Shop 'n Save and Albertsons).
Brand Name: Jewel
Cost:
$2.59
Size: 18 oz.
Nutritional Facts: (for two tablespoons) 200 calories (140 from fat),16 grams of fat (25% recommended daily value), 150 milligrams of sodium (6% recommended daily value); 7 grams of total carbohydrates (2% recommended daily value)
Taste: Not only are the nutritional elements identical to Walmart's Great Value variety, there's even the same type of metallic paper lid with the identical "Sealed for Freshness" message appearing in the same identical red font and word pattern. Could these peanut butters have been made by the same manufacturer? The taste is identical.

The Mini Market:
Aldi
Brand Name:
Peanut Delight
Cost:
$1.39
Size: 18 oz.
Nutritional Facts: (for two tablespoons) 190 calories (140 from fat),16 grams of fat (25% recommended daily value), 150 milligrams of sodium (6% recommended daily value); 7 grams of total carbohydrates (2% recommended daily value)
Taste: Same nutritional elements, lid packaging and taste as Walmart's and Jewel's.

Greatest Value: When it comes to taste, Jif peanut butter is better than the rest. But comparatively, it doesn't cost peanuts. Meanwhile, the Walmart, Jewel and Aldi brands are like identical triplets that go by different names--and different prices. In that department, Aldi, as usual, is the best deal. Its Peanut Delight brand costs 83 cents less than Jif goes for at Walmart, and its almost as good. Go ahead and be choosy "Choosy Moms," but by going with Jif, you're missing out on the best deal. Aldi is the winner of this challenge with a value score (on a scale of 0 to 10) of 9. Second place goes to Walmart with a value score of 8, third to Jewel with a value score of 7 and fourth to Jif with a value score of 6.

Piet Levy's Store Brand Scorecard tests a major label food product and three private label equivalents to see which brand offers the best value for the price. It appears every Monday on WalletPop's
Money College page. Send suggestions, including items you want Piet to try, to moneycollege@walletpop.

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