Our “Lightly Toasted” almond butter used to be called “Raw Almond Butter.” While we have changed the name, rest assured, we have not changed the recipe in any way. Our Lightly Toasted butter has the same great taste everyone loves. The single ingredient in Lightly Toasted Almond Butter remains almonds—and only almonds! So, why did we change the name?
When we introduced this product 12 years ago, “raw” did not have the same meaning as it does today. As you may know, most raw food enthusiasts prefer their food not to be heated above 115 degrees Fahrenheit. We have not changed the way we make your favorite almond butter, and we still use the same processes that many “raw” nut butter manufacturers adhere to at this time. However, we feel calling this product “raw” no longer reflects the new industry standard of processing almonds below 115 degrees.
According to the FDA, the term “raw” does not have regulated definitions or meanings. Therefore, Once Again has followed industry standards. In 2008, many nut butter manufacturers (but not us) recalled their products because of several salmonella outbreaks; thus, the organic industry began to pasteurize almonds grown in the U.S.A.. Once Again Nut Butter purchases almonds from both California and Italy for our Lightly Toasted products.
To promote food safety, we put our raw almonds through a drying process that helps reduce food-borne bacteria. This drying process exceeds 115 degrees; for this reason, we decided to change the name of our Raw Almond Butters to Lightly Toasted. We believe this change is a more accurate reflection of our formerly designated “raw” almond butter products.
In nature, nuts and seeds are exposed to contaminants before they are harvested. We’ve recognized potential food safety issues associated with this reality and also have witnessed several recalls within our industry for products like raw tahini, raw cashew butter, and raw almonds. For our consumers’ well-being, we choose to put our almonds through a drying process as an extra measure of food safety.
We test both raw commodities and finished products before releasing nut butters to the public. In essence, we look to find balance among all of our customers’ health needs. Holistically, we endeavor to achieve nutritional harmony for all of our customers whether they are healthy, have compromised immune systems, or more sensitive digestive systems, as in the case of small children and the elderly. Therefore, we choose to provide safe quality foods in both roasted and raw commodities, meeting the food and nutrient needs of all of our customers, as well as, encompassing the highest level of food safety product testing.
Raw Almonds are dried for two reasons: to reduce harmful food-borne bacteria, and to reduce the moisture content in order to mill almonds into a smooth and creamy butter. Our raw almonds are processed minimally to provide an as-close-to-nature almond butter as we can create. The drying process for our almonds is higher than the temperature threshold set by individuals who are on a strict raw eating plan, again wherein cooking temperatures must register below 115 degrees. Consequently, our name change is a matter of clarity: we have decided to change our product name from Raw Almond Butter to Lightly Toasted to inform consumers about manufacturing processes and criteria in a more precise manner.
The difference between our Lightly Toasted and our traditional almond butter rests in the roasting process. In our traditional almond butter, almonds are roasted and heated until the almonds caramelize. Afterwards, these caramelized almonds are ground into butter to provide a robust, dark color and flavor. For our Lightly Toasted Almond Butter, almonds are simply dried then milled into a naturally sweet-tasting butter.