If you ever wanted to get into the food business, I think it’s important to check your knowledge of food history first:
- Who invented the crop rotation method for farming?
- Who invented of soy-based paints?
- Who owns the patent on peanut butter?
If you answered George Washington Carver to all three… you’re wrong. Although Carver did developed the crop rotation method, invented soy-based paints, and did discover hundreds of uses for peanuts, including peanut butter, he actually never patented peanut butter.
Since Carver’s initial invention, peanut butter has taken on many forms. There’s creamy versus crunchy peanut butter. Some peanut butter comes in bottles with fruit jelly already swirled in. You can buy pre-packed peanut butter crackers in vending machines for a few quarters. You can take out a mortgage to buy giant-sized peanut butter cups at your local movie theater. My favorite variation of a peanut butter is peanut butter cookies.
Just when you thought the evolution of peanut butter would be over, one more peanut butter product comes along: Justin’s Nut Butter. It’s basically peanut butter packed in what looks like over-sized ketchup packets. Perfect for traveling and camping. Justin Gold, founder of Justin’s Nut Butter, simply wanted to enjoy peanut butter on the go. Gold did not accept the idea that nothing more could be done with peanut butter.
The entire food industry relies on innovation in variation to keep going. Think of all the ways corn, potatoes, and soy get into our daily diet. Some would say that the food market is to tough to get into, or that it’s too saturated with too many players. I would argue that it’s not any tougher or more saturated than any other market. I would also argue it is only as tough and saturated as you think it is. Carver demonstrated that one could come up with hundreds of uses for just one ingredient. Gold demonstrated that food innovation never stops. If you want to get into the food business, you have to be just as creative and tenacious as Carver and Gold. I can’t wait to taste your idea.