Within a Single Year, Teenager Abby Kircher’s Peanut Butter Alternative Grows in Popularity, Begins Distribution Beyond North Carolina
About two years ago, Abby Kircher made the decision to start living healthier. At 14 years old, she was struggling with her weight and in need of a positive change. That’s when she found a regular exercise routine on a workout DVD—and along with it, Abby was introduced to a new, more natural nutritional plan to help her get her health back on track.
For Abby, this new lifestyle meant giving up the sugary sweetness of one of her favorite foods—peanut butter. Looking to satisfy her cravings in a healthier way, Abby was introduced to almond butter. Then came the realization that there was an opportunity to create something truly unique and delicious: Abby enjoyed eating plain almond butter, but the one thing missing from grocery store shelves was variety and flavor. Determined to fill that unmet need on her own, Abby spent her slow summer days in the kitchen experimenting with nuts, a food processor and some natural sweeteners. She continued to play around with different ingredients, including a variety of nuts, like cashews and pecans, to sweet add-ins, like dates, strawberries and coconuts, until she was confident that her recipe didn’t only taste good, but was good for her, too.
By the time she turned 15, Abby had created a product unlike anything else on the market—Abby’s Better Nut Butter. Today, her line consists of six unique blends: Coconut Cashew; Honey Almond; Date Pecan; Bourbon Maple Walnut; Coffee Almond; and Strawberry Cashew. It wasn’t long until Abby started selling her new product at local farmer’s markets in her hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina.
“My goal from the very beginning was to just make the best product I could find. I wanted to create something that was natural and pure but tasted amazing. When I realized my nut butters were something special, I had my family try it—I was surprised to hear that they actually preferred it over regular peanut butter. At that moment, I knew I had a real chance to share these flavors with even more people,” Abby said.
After Abby’s Better Nut Butter made its debut, word spread and demand for her products quickly grew. Suddenly, Abby, who was once just a normal PBS-watching, poetry-writing home-schooled teenager, was on the cusp of spearheading a burgeoning business. She started cold-calling local grocery stores to tell them about her healthy peanut butter alternative, and nearly every single store she reached out to wanted Abby’s Better Nut Butter on their shelves. In less than one year, Abby’s creation can be found in 35 stores throughout North Carolina and Tennessee. On any given week, her family is moving as many as 600 jars for distribution.
“I never imagined that this would become as big of a business as it is today. I have no background in that area—all I knew was that I wanted to start eating healthier without having to sacrifice the sweet flavors that I love,” Abby said. “I’m realizing now that I have this incredible opportunity to inspire and help others who might be struggling with their weight to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle, just like I did. I’m excited to have a voice—and a product—in the growing healthy food front at such a young age.”
Today, Abby’s Better Nut Butter is a full-fledged family affair. Anna Kircher, Abby’s mother, has emerged as a boss and a leader, helping to assertively drive the company forward. Abby’s father, Eric, is Abby’s Better Nut Butters’ biggest supporter. Aaron, her brother, is the wheeling and dealing salesman. Her other brother, Elliot, lends a helping hand whenever he can. And her grandparents, who live next door, aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, either.
Abby’s entire family believes that Abby’s Better Nut Butter has the potential to tap into a new—yet in demand—health food market. Now, with the prefect recipes, machines and systems in place, Abby and her family are poised to enter into the next phase of Abby’s Better Nut Butter—and that’s growth mode. Anna is confident that Abby’s product could one day be the go-to nut butter for big-name grocery stores like Whole Foods, Publix and beyond.
For Abby, her dream is to one day see her young brand eventually become a nationally-recognized product. In the meantime, Abby, who is now 16, is committed to continual innovation in the kitchen—after all, she’s a self-proclaimed foodie. From experimenting with butter cups, candies and energy bites, Abby and her family are confident that this is just the beginning for Abby’s Better Nut Butters.
“It is incredibly rewarding to know that I am doing something useful with my time while working for my future and the future of others. I always hope that my butters will be an inspiration to people (especially younger people) to have a healthier, longer life, without losing the pleasure and fun along the way,” Abby said.