Company History



MaraNatha® Nut Butters was founded in 1982, in Ashland, Ore., by the husband and wife team of Robert and Chris Plotnik. As one of the first natural food distributors in America, the Plotniks started by delivering dried fruit from the California Central Valley to small natural food stores in Oregon and Washington. As their distribution company grew, the entrepreneurial Plotniks began experimenting with manufacturing their own products themselves - leading to specialty peanut and nut butters.

After a series of successful nut grinding trials, the Plotniks decided to take their micro-batch butters on the road, distributing them along with their other goods. They were an instant hit.

Jeff Williams, who came on board in 1989 as a production worker, and now serves as Vice President of Operations, recalls, “From the beginning, MaraNatha nut and seed butters have been unique in that they’re not like the butters that you would find in your local supermarket. We kind of humorously called the grocery store nut butters ‘petrified peanut butter.’”

“Our products don’t have any hydrogenated oil, monodiglycerides, preservatives, stabilizers, or added sugar,” Williams said. “That’s one of the things that make our products so special.”

As the MaraNatha line grew in popularity, they decided to get out of the distribution business altogether and concentrate all their energy on crafting nut and seed butters. One of their first innovations was the development of a special process that brings out more flavor while making the butter extra creamy.

Today, MaraNatha is one of the nation’s leading makers of organic and natural nut and seed butters, growing at 30 to 40 percent annually over the last three years. They purchase the finest ingredients from all over the world: Cashews from Brazil, almonds from California, and Valencia peanuts from New Mexico and Texas.

In 1998, MaraNatha was purchased by nSpired™ Natural Foods. Today, many of the same employees continue to run MaraNatha, some for more than 20 years. With expanding national distribution, growing sales to larger food companies, and continuing customer support within the natural foods community, MaraNatha continues to lead the field in creating delicious nut butters and providing customers with alternatives that respect both health and the environment.