Pic Picot talks peanuts, oil, and making NZ’s best selling peanut butter

Food Magazine recently caught up with Pic Picot, the founder of Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter to chat about his success both in New Zealand and Australia, new product launches, and how his product became the top selling peanut butter in New Zealand.

It was only six years ago that Picot decided to venture into the world of peanut butter manufacturing and since then, the company has gone from selling at local markets, to overtake Kraft as NZ’s top selling peanut butter.

“We are way, way ahead as the bestselling peanut butter in New Zealand now. We have 20 percent of the market here and the next bestselling, Kraft, is down about 14 percent, so we are way ahead of anyone else and it’s astonishing because it’s more expensive… I mean it’s twice the price of the really cheap stuff, it’s just been phenomenal.”

To complement his flagship peanut butter, Picot recently welcomed a premium, cold pressed peanut oil to his portfolio. The oil, which is made from food grade hi oleic peanuts, launched around three months ago in New Zealand, with an Australian release date soon to follow.

Picot says that in contrast to many other brands, his peanut oil is made from food grade peanuts.

“I hadn’t realised this but if some suppliers get peanuts that have suffered a bit of mould in the field, or if they have got alfatoxin in them, they simply turn them into oil. They just press and filter any nasties out so they can essentially use any peanuts to make ordinary peanut oil," he says.

Picot says that manufacturers of cold pressed oil must use food grade peanuts as the process doesn't allow the oil to be filtered. In addition, only the first 15 percent of the oil out of the nut is retained as the extraction process has a tendency to heat up the oil and risks "cooking" it.

Another thing that Picot pointed out was that the making of his peanut butter and the peanut oil are two completely separate processes.

“It’s a separate process to the oil. We actually bring the oil in from the peanut growers in Australia. We don’t make it ourselves, we import it and bottle it here. It comes from the same nut suppliers that we use for our peanut butter so they are hi oleic peanuts. The main difference to other brands is that the oil is cold pressed, and made from food grade nuts.

When asked about how he got to where he is today, Picot believes that honest enthusiasm and a great product was the key to his success.

“I think enthusiasm is unbeatable. Nothing can stand in the way of someone who is enthusiastic," he says. "I remember that my dad, who was one of the founders of what is now Woolworths in New Zealand, was just completely interested in everybody… And I think that is what happens, if you are enthusiastic about something, its unstoppable. And also, I love what I make.

“My aim now is to become the most loved peanut butter in the world. I don’t want to be the biggest selling, I’m happy for Kraft or Skippy to be the biggest selling, but to be the most loved peanut butter is the dream.”

As the company continues to get bigger, Picot says that innovation is one of the biggest challenges that the business faces.

“Continuing to innovate and to maintain that entrepreneurial (flair) is challenging,” he says.

“As the company gets bigger… it’s sort of harder to innovate and get new things happening. People are trying to make sure that everything is in place before we make another move, so you can sort of end up fiddling around for months and even years before you can introduce something new, but you’ve just got to take that plunge and leap in."


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