SLICE peanut butter created by OSU researchers to hit shelves soon

Monday, July 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ In a matter of weeks, food researchers at Oklahoma State University hope to find out if their sliced peanut butter creation will stick around.

It's taken nearly two years for OSU researchers to perfect a product that doesn't stick to its cellophane wrapper, but still taste like peanut butter, said Stewart Kennedy, an OSU graduate and owner of Kennedy Foods in Edmond.

``I'm not going to waste my time on a product that doesn't taste, smell and have the texture of real peanut butter,'' Kennedy said. ``People don't want some rubberized peanut butter slab.''

Kennedy said if all goes according to plan, the product will be in stores in August, just in time for back-to-school shoppers.

But sliced peanut butter will only be available of 74 Wal-Mart stores in northeast Oklahoma and in a handful of Crest Foods super markets in Oklahoma City.

The sliced peanut butter is packaged like sandwich cheese and also will be sold in the dairy section of the super market, Kennedy said. Wal-Mart hasn't set the product's retail price.

The peanut butter slices were developed by researchers at the OSU Food and Agricultural Products Research and Technology Center in Stillwater, said food researcher and assistant professor Danielle Bellmer.

Bellmer said an adapted cheese manufacturing machine is used to press batches of special peanut butter into the 4-inch sliced squares.

Each slice contains 120 calories and has a fat content of 16 percent. The slices are 90 percent peanut butter with a filler additive that makes them hold their form in wrappers.

It took more than two years and about $35,000 to develop the peanut butter slices. The project is part of OSU's efforts to develop marketable patents and products.

``It wasn't the easiest thing in the world to develop, but we're just glad it's on its way to the test market,'' Bellmer said.