THE ARGENTINE PEANUT CLUSTER.

OUR PRODUCTS

Peanut as Food

Botanically, peanuts are considered legumes, but in the framework of international trade, it is listed under the chapter of nuts or dried fruit, such as almonds, hazelnuts, pistachios, macadamias, chestnuts, etc. Likewise, it is worth highlighting that HPS Peanut is not a commodity as normally mistaken, but rather a manufactured food product, an agricultural manufacture with extraordinary added value.

European food legislation provides specific rules for peanuts, and adopt the term groundnuts to designate them. American rules classify them in the group of edible nuts, and in international trade, they are referred to simply as peanuts.

The chief destination of the peanut production of Argentina is the snack and candy industry. Consumption of peanuts and peanut-containing products is a rooted food and traditional food product in many countries of the world.

Contrary to China, India, Nigeria, Brazil, Senegal and other origins, Argentina and the United States compete in the high-quality peanut market for human consumption. Although, it is domestically ignored, Argentine Peanuts are –implicitly- a trademark that stands for a valued and prestigious product among the most demanding snack consumers worldwide.

The peanuts we eat are the fruit of the species Arachis hypogaea L., an annual herbaceous plant, in the Fabaceae family (legume), growing upright or trailing. This fruit is a seed carried inside a pod that grows underground, called shells, with one to four seeds per shell, depending on the variety.

Peanuts are consumed worldwide for their pleasant taste, multiple uses and nutritional value. In Argentina, they are consumed roasted or fried (skinned or unskinned); caramel-coated peanuts, peanut nougat and praline; as candy, coated or chocolate-coated, or in chocolate tablets and bars. It is also one of the main components of tapas in bars and restaurants, normally served free with beer. Peanut is the main ingredient in the semi-hard slab, similar to nougat, made popular by the trademark Mantecol.

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Argentina is the largest peanut producer in Latin America, and ranks seventh worldwide. Nevertheless, it is the first
peanut exporter worldwide.

Regular peanut consumption is highly beneficial to health due to its chemical, nutritional and nutraceutical composition. The Argentine Peanut Foundation, based on the Technical Cooperation Agreement in place with the Grain Quality Laboratory of the EEA (Agricultural Experimental Station) INTA Manfredi, headed by Dr. María José Martinez, carries out the characterization of the chemical and nutritional composition of peanuts and conducts the annual monitoring of said characteristics.

These studies are completed with the determinations and follow-ups conducted by institutions like the National University of Córdoba, articulating with the School of Agriculture and Livestock Sciences (Dr. Rubén Grosso) and the CEPROCOR (Dr. Irene Cañas), the research institute of the Secretariat of Science and Technology of the Province of Córdoba.

As established in Provincial Act N° 10.094/12, which creates “the designation ‘Córdoba Peanuts’ in order to protect the quality of origin identifying said product”; “as to the phytobiological characterization, nutritional contents and sensory attributes, Córdoba Peanuts feature typical fat, fiber, protein, sugar, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, copper and zinc contents, plus its specific tocopherol concentration…”

The USA National Peanut Board provides a list of the percentage recommended daily intake of nutrients provided in one serving of peanuts (28 g).

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In our country, two different types of peanuts are grown: Runner and High Oleic Runner. Varieties differ in their lipid composition (fatty acid composition), which in the case of the High Oleic variety are marked by the higher proportion of oleic acid over linoleic acid.

In general, Argentine peanuts feature high protein content (23.2% to 24.5%) and high fatty matter content (47.5% to 49.5%). This implies that the nutritional composition of our peanuts contributes significantly to the daily intake requirements recommended by MerCoSur resolution 46/03.

Fatty matter is mostly (80%) made up by Oleic acid (fatty monounsaturated acid Omega-9) and Linoleic acid (unsaturated fatty acid Omega-6), followed
by Palmitic, Behenic, Eicosenoic, Lignoceric and Erucic (monounsaturated fatty acid Omega-9) acids, among others.

The fatty acid composition of HPS peanuts is the following:

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On the other hand, peanuts are rich in tocopherols (447 to 536 ppm), which are organic compounds that act as antioxidants, and several of which act as Vitamin E, adding to the inherent Vitamin E contents (alpha-tocopherol) ranging between 226 to 233 ppm. Additional antioxidants are Taxifolin, Luteolin, Quercetin and Resveratrol. Several studies are being carried out worldwide on the latter, in order to determine its anti-carcinogenic, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory, antifibrotic, lipid-lowering effects, as well as its effectiveness in reducing blood sugar levels and other cardiovascular benefits.

Sugar contents (glucose, fructose and sucrose) reach an average 10.5 g%/g-1 and grant it a mild sweet reminiscence, typical of Argentine Peanuts.

Additionally, it contains other important nutrients to maintain good nutritional health, with nutraceutical importance, such as folic acid (1.25 ppm), effective in treating certain forms of anemia and preventive of several fetal conditions during pregnancy; as well as beta-sitosterol (1.121 to 1.499 ppm) and stigmasterol (155 to 254 ppm).

Finally, regarding the nutritional contribution of Córdoba Peanuts to the daily diet, the mineral contents have been studied in the ready-to-eat product, with excellent iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorous contents, among others, and their consumption helps to incorporate them by daily intakes.

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The sensory profile of Argentine Peanuts is marked by a strong roasted peanut flavor and a soft sweet reminiscence provided by the high sucrose content that is typical of our product. Its high calcium content makes it moderately hard, which is pleasant to the palate and grants it a uniquely crunchy texture. Its light brown, uniform color is highlighted by a pleasant golden gleam due to heat processing (roasting, frying, etc.).

Our Products

The Peanut Sector does not export grains or commodities, but manufactured products with high added value.

Peanut products are protected by the designation “Córdoba Peanuts” as set forth in Provincial Act N° 10.094 enacted in 2012.

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The designation “Córdoba Peanuts– Certificate of Origin” is a quality seal that guarantees premium quality, according to the strictest international standards.

It essentially guarantees a product grown under quality assurance and social, environmental and economic sustainability standards such as the Good Agricultural Practices, and processed under BPM, HACCP, BRC and ETI standards; free from chemical and biological contaminants, with specific chemical and nutritional composition, inherent in its geographical origin. The seal “Córdoba Peanuts – Certificate of Origin” was launched internationally due to the support of Agencia ProCórdoba and Fundación ExportAr in the Snackex of Barcelona, in 2007. Since then, its promotion continued in international fairs and missions, and has earned extraordinary recognition among the most demanding consumers in the world. The products from the Argentine peanut sector are exported to the whole world with the seal “Córdoba Peanuts”.

Different agreements in place with research institutions established through the Argentine Peanut Foundation monitor this quality. Since 2006, they have been undertaking an annual follow-up of Argentine peanut production, determining the nutritional quality of peanut as food, as well as its chemical and nutritional composition, while certifying the product innocuousness by determining pesticide and heavy metal residues.

Additionally, apart from China, other peanut-producing countries are increasing their demand for Argentine Peanuts for their gourmet niches. Other important producers also purchase our peanuts: the USA, India, South Africa, Mexico, Turkey, Brazil, Egypt and Australia.

Some of the manufactured products that the Peanut Agricultural and Industrial Sector processes and exports are:

  • HPS Peanuts (Shelled, Blanched, Splits, Chopped, Sliced)
  • Coated and/or Flavored Peanuts(Snacks)
  • Peanut Paste
  • Peanut Butter
  • Peanut Oil, Unrefined and Refined
  • Peanut Meal
  • Peanut Pellets and Expellers

Quality Assurance Systems

This success is largely due to the quality assurance system that the companies in the Sector adopt by implementing and certifying different quality standards such as the Good Agricultural Practices in Peanut Production (Argentine Peanut Foundation- 2011), the Good Manufacturing Practices (Argentine Peanut Chamber- 2008), HACCP, ISO, BRC, ETI and GFS, among others.

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In addition to the obligations arising from the above certifications, the companies of the peanut sector promote different efforts aimed at the responsible use of natural resources, environmental protection, countering child labor, and protection of social sustainability in the communities of the region, among other goals.

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