Founder: Michael Kanter
Year founded: 2013
Product description: Peanut butter that graduated from high school and got a real job, but still knows how to let loose.
Yearly sales: $250,000 in 2017, with an expected increase in 2018
Is it profitable?: No—any profit goes straight back into the company.
Available at: 600 stores in 22 states, including New Seasons, Whole Foods, QFC, Market of Choice and Safeway
You could very well slap Eliot's Adult Nut Butters on a piece of bread with jelly for a more sophisticated PB&J—or just take a spoon straight to the jar. But what you should really do, says founder Michael Kanter, is make dinner with it.
Kanter was once an aspiring chef, but while working at Whole Foods, he soon realized his place might not be in the kitchen. Snacking on spicy cashews one day, he thought to throw them in the food processor and see if he could make a nut butter. It hit him that there weren't many savory nut butters on the market.
"Sweet is fun," Kanter says, "but you're not going to make dinner with a chocolate peanut butter."
So he turned his experiment into a business, named after the Eliot neighborhood in Northeast Portland where the company is based. He was introduced to a buyer at New Seasons, and only three months after launching his business, he was already in six New Seasons stores.
Of Eliot's seven butters, Spicy Thai Peanut Butter is the common favorite—Kanter recommends adding it to a stir fry. Or swap out regular peanut butter for the Espresso Nib in your grandma's cookie recipe to stir the pot during the holidays.
Guilty pleasure snack: "After working in fine dining for years, a good burger is the best reward."
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