Squirrel (peanut butter)
Squirrel was originally manufactured by the Canada Nut Co. Ltd. of Vancouver, B.C., by about 1915. For its initial 25 years or more it was marketed through Western Canada. By 1959 it was marketed across Canada through Nabob Foods Limited, a division of Kelly, Douglas Co. Ltd., then of Burnaby, B.C., which in turn was controlled by George Weston Limited and Loblaw Companies.
In May, 1975, George Weston Ltd. sold the 81-per-cent interest it held in Kelly, Douglas to Loblaws. In 1976 Nabob Foods Ltd. became a wholly owned subsidiary of Jacobs Suchard AG of Switzerland. In June, 1981, Nabob Foods Ltd. sold the Squirrel brand to Canada Packers Inc., to focus on its coffee business.
In December, 1990, Canada Packers sold the peanut butter business to a subsidiary of CPC International Inc. of Englewood Cliffs, N.J. CPC decided it would continue making Squirrel peanut butter, along with Skippy peanut butter, at a Montreal plant, owned by Best Foods Canada Inc., a subsidiary of CPC's Toronto-based subsidiary, Canada Starch Inc. In 1997 CPC International split into Bestfoods Corp. and Corn Products International, Inc.
Unilever PLC (ULVR) London took over Bestfoods Corp. in June, 2000, for $20.3-billion (U.S.), acquiring the Squirrel brand in Canada. It discontinued the Squirrel brand, marketing only the Skippy brand after its acquisition, despite Squirrel's longer history in Canada.
Unilever temporarily renamed Skippy in Canada as "Skippy the Squirrel", featuring a redrawn squirrel on the label (Skippy had previously used a stylized peanut as its mascot). Eventually, Skippy the Squirrel reverted to its original name (Skippy) as it is seen today and features the redrawn squirrel. The inner freshness seal has a cartoon image of the original likeness of the squirrel.
Squirrel was known for containing one whole peanut which lay on the top of the peanut butter when the jar was first opened, hence the slogan "The One With The Peanut On Top!" The peanut on top was eliminated when rebranded as Skippy. The brand was also known for "peanut points," which could be collected and redeemed for prizes. The mascot was a brown squirrel wearing a green sweater, smiling and holding a peanut.
- Edmonton Journal, Sept. 19, 1940, p. 12
- The Financial Post, Aug. 22, 1959, p. 19
- Calgary Herald, April 9, 1975, p. 53
- Globe and Mail, June 13, 1981, p. B3
- Globe and Mail, Dec. 18, 1990, p. B8
- http://www.sportsnet.ca/football/cfl/2011/11/27/brunt_grey_cup_recap/; http://www.cfl.ca/page/his_legends_kapp