|Alternative names||Sunflower seed butter, sunbutter|
|Main ingredients||Sunflower seeds|
U.S. commercial versions of sunflower butter were first introduced in the early 1980s as alternatives to peanut butter, particularly for those with nut allergies or peanut allergies. These attempts were unsuccessful, which was attributed to issues with its greenish appearance, "poor texture", and a bitter, under-roasted taste.
Two decades later, in 2000, researchers at the Agricultural Research Service of the Department of Agriculture, working with sunflower seed processor Red River Commodities, developed a formulation that "resembled the texture, flavor, and nutty appearance of commercially available peanut butter", focusing on the degree of roasting and the amounts of sugar, salt, and stabilizer (hydrogenated cottonseed and rapeseed oils). At the same time, Red River Commodities invested in new sunflower seed hybrids and specialized production areas, formed the subsidiary SunGold Foods, Inc., and created a peanut-free and tree-nut-free food processing, packaging, distribution and shipping environment at both companies' locations. The substitute for peanut butter, introduced in 2002, became known as SunButter.
Several major grocery chains and online retailers produce store-brand sunflower butter, including Trader Joe's and Thrive Market.
Due to the prevalence of peanut allergies in the US, many American schools are offering peanut-free menu options or implementing entirely nut-free policies. Sunflower butter can provide an alternative in schools where peanut butter and other nuts have been banned. However, a small number of people with peanut allergies may also be allergic to sunflower seed butter. According to one study, a person with a known peanut allergy suffered an acute reaction to a "nut-free" butter containing sunflower seeds.
- Peabody, Erin (May 17, 2005). "Sunflower Seed Butter Improves As It Spreads Across America". United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 2009-01-07.
- Lima, Isabel M.; Guraya, Harmeet S. (2005). "Optimization Analysis of Sunflower Butter" (PDF). Journal of Food Science. Institute of Food Technologists. 70 (6): 365–370. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2621.2005.tb11457.x. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
- "News & Events: SunButter". Agricultural Research Service. USDA. January 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-03-18.
- Lima, Isabel; Guraya, Harmeet (2010). "Sunflower Butter" (PDF). USDA. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- Thomas, R.G.; Genhardt, S.E. (2012). "Nuts And Seeds As Sources Of Alpha and Gamma Tocopheros" (PDF). USDA. Retrieved 2011-03-02.
- Groce, Victoria (June 9, 2008). "Why is My Child's School Nut-Free? What food can she bring?". Retrieved 2011-03-03.
- Hsu, Denise; Katelaris, Constance (2007). "Is "nut-free" sunflower seed butter safer for children with peanut allergy?". The Medical Journal of Australia. Australasian Medical Publishing Company. 187 (9): 542–543. Retrieved 2012-03-01.
- "USDA Foods Product Information Sheet" (PDF).
- Thomas, R.G.; Genhardt, S.E. (2012). "Sunflower Seed Butter and Almond Butter as Nutrient-Rich Alternatives to Peanut Butter" (PDF). USDA. Retrieved 2011-03-02.