Being American, it’s a given that peanut butter is going to be a necessity in my cupboard, no matter where I live in the world. In Amman, most every supermarket carries peanut butter, but the downside is, the ones I’ve found on the shelves are all full of additives like unhealthy hydrogenated oils. Even Skippy “Natural” has sugar, palm oil and salt!
Because I like to steer clear of anything with ingredients that aren’t 100% natural, I told myself I was going to buy a food processor and start making my own. Three months later and I still haven’t made peanut butter (I did buy peanuts though, so that should be worth a few points).
Luckily, I found an easier solution to my peanut butter problem… a local Jordanian grassroots company that makes their own homemade nut butters – Peanut Better. I came across them while scoping out other local produce at the Nour al Barakah Farmer’s Market. Because I’m always a big fan of supporting local business, I wanted to find out more about Peanut Better, so what better way then to hear it from the owner himself, Osama Al Ajlouni.
Interview with Owner & Creator of Peanut Better – Osama Al Ajlouni
Osama is a 26 year old junior programmer, who, outside his working hours started making nut butters alongside his mom. Keep reading to find out more about Peanut Better – Jordan’s first business to specialize in producing different varieties of all natural, additive-free nut butters. Which, by the way, are vegan-friendly too 🙂
When did you start Peanut Better? Why?
Peanut Better started back in September 2016 as the result of my family’s economic situation, simply put, in early 2016 we lost our main source of income. To help get my family back on track, I knew I needed to come up with a way to provide additional income. So my lifelong dream of giving to my community fused itself with a need to maintain my family’s survival, and in turn gave birth to this project.
The reasons why I started this small business were, firstly, to provide Jordan with healthy, nutritional alternatives in nut butters at an affordable price. The Jordanian breakfast table is filled with unhealthy and needlessly expensive products by multinational corporations in the modern day, and I am trying to provide a better, grassroots, and homemade alternative for both nutritional and economic benefit. Moreover, this project is now my family’s main source of income after it had lost its former one, and I thus see it as a synergy of benefiting my community while keeping my family stable and provided for.
How did you come up with the idea?
While living in Sweden, I encountered the simplistic wonder of natural peanut butter. It contained no sugar, palm oil, vegetable oil, corn syrup or any kinds of hydrogenated fats. It was so different from what’s predominantly available on the market, in terms of texture and taste. It was far superior and I simply got addicted!
When I came back to Jordan, finding natural peanut butter wasn’t easy, mainly due to its high price, inconsistent availability and the fact that most brands still add some extra ingredients. Thus, I decided to make my own, and that’s where it all began. Several attempts later, we managed to achieve the desired texture and taste and even apply it to almonds and cashews!
How do your mom and you work together?
My mom, Fatima Zakarneh, is in charge of making all of the nut butters from A to Z, while I handle social media, delivery and purchasing materials.
What has Peanut Better achieved so far?
Over the past six months, I had to learn how to promote our products with little to no cost, by utilizing social media and attending local markets whenever available. Luckily, we’ve managed to reach out to larger parts of the community. We’ve been receiving positive feedback and favorable reviews. Seeing how our customers are happy with the products and keep coming back for more has always felt rewarding and given us motivation to constantly improve and push forward!
What types of nut butters do you offer?
Of course we offer peanut butter, but we also make other varieties of nut butters, including almond butter, cashew butter and pistachio butter.
How much do they cost?
We offer different sizes of our nut butters and also packages:
Tell me more about your crowdfunding campaign?
I started a Help Me Make Peanut Better crowdfunding campaign because we have gotten good feedback about our products and want to continue. However, the lack of resources remains a huge obstacle that prevents us from growing and making enough products to match the increasing demand. The equipment we’re currently using has a very low production capacity and is highly prone to damage, considering the amounts we’re producing. Unfortunately, and no matter how I slice it, saving up for new equipment isn’t a possibility, considering my family’s economic needs. Therefore, I decided to start this campaign, hoping to reach out to a larger community and get the help I need.
What’s in store for the future of Peanut Better?
I take pride in and enjoy running this small business so if our financial resources allow, we will definitely introduce more varieties and natural flavors later on.
Where can I buy Peanut Better?
You can get your own Peanut Better by contacting/visiting us directly: