North Carolina A&T State University
In the US, there is a need for new value-added peanut products to increase human consumption and enhance the viability and stability of the peanut industry. This need has arisen because of a decline in consumption of traditional full-fat foods (including peanuts), and competition from other low-fat snacks which contain most of the flavor of the original full-fat products. Because the typical roasted peanut flavor is contained in the fat, products using defatted roasted peanuts as the main ingredient fall short when competing with other low-fat snacks. A product such as spicy peanut meat analogs will not be dependent on the inherent peanut fat for its flavor. Traditional spices used in cottage-level food preservation practices in the Caribbean may also serve as natural inhibitors of mold growth and aflatoxin synthesis in the peanut meat analogs. In Jamaica, the peanut crop is well ingrained into the agricultural industry. However, very little use is made of peanuts except as a snack food, mainly roasted nuts. The products are prepared by cottage-level processors who lack the technical expertise to manufacture products with good keeping quality. Thus, there are seasonal gluts and shortages which cause instability of the peanut industry. There is a need for development of new/improved quality products to meet market needs. Peanut is an important secondary crop in Haiti, and is grown throughout most rural areas by low resource farmers on small hillside farms. A large portion of the peanut crop is consumed at the farm level, while the rest is traded and converted to oil, paste, peanut butter or candy. However, little effort has been made at the local level to improve the acceptability and marketability of these products. There is a need to improve the rural economy of Haiti for several social and political reasons. One way this could be achieved is by the manufacture of good quality value-added peanut products. Peanut production in Belize has increased considerably during the last ten years especially through activities spearheaded by the Peanut CRSP, CARDI and the Belize Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives. However, there is limited utilization and consumption of peanut products primarily as a result of improper processing operations and inadequate equipment and materials. Small scale peanut processors include women and native Indians, and the products which they presently make are peanut butter, roasted nuts and a peanut-cassava cereal-type product. Technology transfer to improve the quality of these products will increase utilization of peanuts leading to increased production and demand for the crop and therefore facilitate overall improvement in the economy.