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A weekly dose of nutty history, pop culture, and recipes from Lee Zalben, aka The Peanut Butter Guy.

Nuts About Vending Machines

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[Photograph: Peanut Butter & Co.]

Many Americans will take to the nation's highways this weekend, whether to travel to a Labor Day cookout, for a last family camping trip of the summer, or perhaps to deposit recent high school grads at their new colleges.

No doubt many of these weekend road warriors will get hungry, and stop at a rest area or comfort station where they might do some vending machine snacking. Have you ever noticed just how many peanutty snacks are in those vending machines?

It's no secret that Americans love peanuts in their candy. In fact, five out of the ten most popular candy bars sold in the U.S. contain peanuts or peanut butter (Snickers, Reese's peanut butter cups, Baby Ruth, Butterfinger, and Oh Henry!). Add to that all of the peanutty trail mixes, sandwich crackers, and cookies, and you might be surprised to learn that on average, about 25 percent of the items in most vending machines contain peanuts or peanut butter. Those are some yummy stats!

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Just take a look at this ice cream machine.

Four of the 12 compartments contain items made with peanuts or peanut butter (the Reese's ice cream bar, the Drumstick (twice), and the ChocoTaco)—that's 33%!

Do you have a favorite vending machine snack that contains peanuts or peanut butter?

About the author: Lee Zalben was a PB&J-loving kid that grew up to be the founder and president of Peanut Butter & Co., which began as a Greenwich Village sandwich shop serving nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and expanded to include the now-famous line of all natural flavored peanut butter. Lee is a graduate of Vassar College and enjoys traveling the world in search of interesting foods made with peanuts, tree nuts, and seeds. When he's not working, eating, flying or writing, he enjoys scuba diving and training elephants.

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