Red River Commodities, the parent company of SunGold Foods, Inc., enjoyed a large export market for sunflower kernel for many years. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, many other countries introduced a lower-quality sunflower kernel—available at cheaper prices—quickly making them major suppliers to the export markets. As a result, Red River Commodities began to research new and consistent outlets for their kernel.
In cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture, Red River Commodities began a two-year project to develop a substitute for peanut butter that would be made from sunflower seeds. In the meantime, Red River Commodities invested in new hybrids, specialized production areas, formed SunGold Foods, Inc. and created a peanut-free and tree-nut free environment at both companies. The substitute for peanut butter became known as SunButter®.
Today, SunButter® is available in a variety of flavors, and is found in grocery chains and health food stores. It is used in many school lunch programs, including at those schools that have decided to be peanut-free and tree-nut free. It is used as an ingredient in a variety of recipes. SunButter® is the largest customer of Red River Commodities for sunflower kernel.