Base Culture Almond Butter is one of many products marketed towards those adopting a more “primal” style of eating known as the Paleo diet. That’s right–paleo, like paleolithic–like dinosaurs and stuff (okay, not really, but I just had to mess with the paleo peeps for a second). This product has quite the list of things it is “free” of…but does that make it healthier? And like many trendy health-conscious products, is the extra cost worth it?
Cost of Base Culture Almond Butter
At Walmart, a 16 oz jar of the almond butter costs $15. Yikes. I was sticker shocked when I saw this! It’s definitely going to be a special treat in our house because of that price. To give you an idea of how that compares to the O.G. nut butter: peanut butter…
At Walmart, a 28-oz jar of JIF costs $4. That’s quite the price difference, so I think a lot of people will be put off by that.
On Amazon, a 3-pack of 16-oz Base Culture Almond Butter costs $23, which is a great deal compared to Walmart. I had trouble finding the product’s price at other retailers, but I hope that gives you a good idea of the cost!
How Does Base Culture Almond Butter Taste?
On its own, the original flavor tastes a little blander than I was expecting. I think if it had some salt added it might be better. Although I have a vague memory of there being a sea-salt variety…overall the flavor was fine, and when I added it on top of English muffins or oatmeal it was delicious!
Base Culture offers several flavor variations of their almond butter. These include gingerbread, cinnamon, maple, and chocolate espresso. YUM.
A Long List of “Free-of’s”
The front of the label features the following list describing what’s NOT in the product:
This has become a popular method of food marketing that aims to attract ingredient-conscious folks. If you’ve read my previous product reviews, you’ll remember that RX Bars have a similar type of marketing, where all the ingredients are listed on the front of the label as a way to promote transparency and build trust between conscious consumers and the brand.
I think this type of marketing works, I’ll start by saying that. And I don’t have much of an issue with it either, personally. I like that brands are getting more pressure from consumers to be transparent about the ingredients in their products.
Where I have an issue is when brands plaster their labels with laundry lists of “free of’s” and “made without’s” to the point where the consumer is put back at square one: where there is so much information and an abundance of options that you can’t figure out why buying nut butter just became a twenty-minute rapid-fire Google searching session of things like “what is a GMO.”
We all want to be smart about how we shop, and choose what’s best for ourselves and our families. But I think sometimes the long list of what is or is not in a product can be overwhelming to consumers and add to the confusion. I’m not saying I have the solution to this problem, it’s more of an observation than anything. But I do think it’s advantageous for shoppers to educate themselves on ingredients that are frequently brought into question such as preservatives, GMOs, gluten, and soy.
What About the Nutrition in Almond Butter?
Maybe you are wondering where the concept or idea of almond butter even came from in the first place, or whether or not it’s a healthier substitute for peanut butter.
I can’t really speak to almond butter’s origin story, but I’ve got a strong hunch that people wanted to accommodate those with peanut allergies. Peanut allergies have been on the rise in the past decade or so, especially in children. It’s great to see the market respond by adding more options for those with food allergies!
It’s also possible that some prefer almond butter to peanut butter due to the USDA recommendation to reduce saturated fat intake (peanut butter has about 3g of saturated fat per 2 tbsp serving). In a 2 tbsp serving, Base Culture’s Almond Butter has only 1g of saturated fat.
Interestingly, more recent research has taken another look at the suspected harm of consuming too many saturated fats. While the American Heart Association still recommends limiting saturated fats to 5-6% (approx. 13g) of your daily intake, researchers are saying that saturated fat isn’t the main culprit in heart disease as was previously thought. It seems that eating saturated fats in moderation, especially when consumed with what has been traditionally considered “healthy” fat, is best for our health!
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at Base Culture Almond Butter’s nutrition:
Overall, I was very pleased with the nutrition profile here. What stood out to me was the 6g of protein per serving (2 tbsp), the 3g of dietary fiber, and the 0g added sugars. Next, the ingredients (well, ingredient–there’s only one!) were great as well. The only ingredient is roasted almonds.
For comparison, peanut butter has 7g of protein, 2g of dietary fiber, and 2g of added sugar in a 2 tbsp serving.
Lastly, some nut butters have added sugars or high fructose corn syrup, which I don’t prefer personally. I would rather have just the peanuts or almonds or cashews or whatever it is, and maybe some salt. So, for me, that’s a plus with this almond butter.
Fiber and protein contribute to feelings of fullness. They help you feel fuller longer. The combination of those nutrients with the vitamin E and healthy fats in almonds makes this almond butter a great addition to smoothies, sandwiches, oatmeal, rice cakes, and anything else you might put nut butter on!
What This Product Is Good For…
I think this would be a great alternative to peanut butter for people who have peanut allergies. It’s also a great option for people who have some of the “Big 8” food allergies since it does not contain soy or dairy either.
If you don’t like peanut butter, try almond butter! It’s entirely different in flavor (duh.) and you might like the slight sweetness from the almonds.
If you are following a paleo diet, this product fits those standards!
Those who are concerned about ingredients in other nut butters such as soy, preservatives, gluten (although it’s unlikely you’ll find gluten in nut butter), dairy, or GMOs and prefer products without those ingredients.
What This Product Isn’t Good For…
Those with tree nut allergies.
1- have not done their homework about different ingredients in foods and assume this product must be healthier because of it’s long list of “free of’s”
2- have not decided which ingredients they feel are best/aren’t best for their personal goals and lifestyle
3- because of items 1 and 2, are not making informed decisions but instead are making fear-based decisions due to the long list of “free of’s” on the label without understanding the nuance
Thanks for reading this week’s product review! What question are you left with? What product should I review next? Let me know in the comments below!