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Peanut Is the New Pea: Protein’s Next Big Thing is on Its Way

Did you know?

  1. Peanut protein has all essential amino acids, including the branched-chain amino acids.
  2. Owing to their unique amino acid profile, peanuts have been long used to address protein malnutrition in the developing world.
  3. Peanuts are sustainable and environmentally friendly.
  4. A new technology, HydroRelease™, liberates proteins in their natural, highly digestible form. This eliminates the need for added powders or isolates.

Pea protein has become a big thing in shakes and beverages. But there is always a next big thing. It doesn’t even have to be new; it may be as simple as repurposing something tried and tested. This is exactly the case with peanut protein.

Soon you’ll be able to get peanut protein from shakes. It will be far better than currently available pea protein-based shakes containing chemically processed isolates and powders. A novel HydroRelease™ technology – allowing extraction of protein in its natural, highly digestible form – is now being utilized to develop clean peanut protein shakes with no added stabilizers, thickeners, and emulsifiers.

Peanuts are indigenous to the Americas, but, as with many crops, have crossed the great oceans and had equal impact on the other side. Here, in parts of Africa and Asia, peanut protein has been used to treat protein deficiency among people reliant upon cereal crops for nutrition (Singh & Singh, 1991).

If it can do all that there, think of what our great native legume can be on this side of the pond. They aren’t just indulgence for baseball games and carnivals. In a land with no shortage of protein sources, peanuts more than hold their own – and there is science to back it.

Protein is made of 20 amino acids. These are needed for protein synthesis, which is essential to muscle recovery. Of the 20, nine amino acids are essential, meaning they cannot be generated by the body; rather, they have to be obtained from food. Peanut protein has all essential amino acids, including the branched-chain amino acids isoleucine, leucine, and valine (National Research Council, 1989; Natarajan, 1980). This makes peanuts an excellent post-workout choice.

What’s more, peanuts are highly sustainable. Peanut products – like many plant-based alternatives – account for far fewer CO2 emissions than their animal-based counterparts. Additionally, peanuts use less water than many other protein sources and improve soil quality by “fixing” it with nitrogen captured from the air (Sanderfur, McCarthy, Boles, & Matlock, 2017; Thomas).

Now Elmhurst® 1925, a leading innovator in plant-based beverages, has a unique method for converting peanuts to a creamy beverage. HydroRelease™ harnesses peanut protein’s full range of benefits without added powders or isolates. The resulting Cleanest Protein Shake on the Planet™ has 20g protein from peanuts, no more than six simple ingredients, and no added gums and emulsifiers. Find Elmhurst’s shakes in stores and online – in chocolate peanut, banana chocolate, café mocha, and vanilla bean flavors – this November!


Natarajan, K. R. (1980). Peanut Protein Ingredients: Preparation, Properties, and Food Uses. Advances in Food Research, 215-273.

National Research Council (US). (1989). Recommended Daily Allowances (10th ed.). Washington, DC: National Academy Press (US).

Sanderfur, H., McCarthy, J., Boles, E., & Matlock, M. (2017). Peanut Products as a Protein Source: Production, Nutrition, and Environmental Impact. In Sustainable Protein Sources (pp. 209-221). Elesevier .

Singh, B., & Singh, U. (1991). Peanut as a source of protein for human foods. Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 41, 165-177.

Thomas, C. (n.d.). Why This Culinary Dietician Loves Peanut Milk. Retrieved from National Peanut Board: