The US Agricultural Research Service has said US peanuts have fared well in a taste test by European consumers, who were evaluating peanuts from the US, China and Argentina.

The results of the consumer study coordinated by ARS will be used by the US peanut industry to maintain current purchase levels by overseas buyers. US peanut exporters will use the findings for outreach in foreign markets.

Around 4.1 billion pounds of peanuts were produced by US peanut growers during the 2003-2004 marketing year. Of that, just over one-tenth – 516 million pounds – was exported. Europe is the United States’ largest export market.

“The combined study data show that the likelihood of consumer complaints about the flavour of US peanuts would be virtually none. The data also indicate that European consumers would likely identify about 70% of Chinese lots and 40% of Argentine lots as problematic,” ARS said.

ARS is the US Department of Agriculture’s chief scientific research agency.