Peanut butter lover Pic Picot said he “became annoyed when he started buying sugar peanut butter in supermarkets,” so he made his own in his garage and sold some of them at a stall in the local farmers market in Nelson of New Zealand’s South Island.
That was about 10 years ago. Now 67 year old Picot has become a “peanut butter guy” and owns a modern factory called “Pic’s Peanut Butter World” in Nelson, producing and selling around 25,000 jars around the world, making up half of New Zealand’s peanut butter market.
“Somewhere between 10 and 20 percent of our production goes to China, but it is growing very fast and we see the potential for China is almost limitless. People are looking for good food,” Picot, founder of Pic’s Peanut Butter, said before departing for Shanghai to attend the China International Import Expo 2019 (CIIE).
China has become Pic’s Peanut Butter’s largest export market, and will one day exceed the amount sold in the New Zealand market, said Picot with his guide dog as he is visually impaired.
“I enjoyed going on elsewhere in having the opportunity to make customers,” he said of his ongoing CIIE trip. The second CIIE is held on November 5-10 in Shanghai.
His first CIIE trip to China became a fond memory of him. Picot said he kept entering and exiting the expo’s contract signing room with his team during the first CIIE held last November in Shanghai, with his peanut butter orders totalling up to 12 million NZ dollars (7.6 million U.S. dollars).
This means a lot for a company with 50 workers back in Nelson, Picot said, adding that after the first CIIE he signed contracts with major Chinese e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba and JD.COM, and started to sell Pic’s Peanut Butter both online and offline in China.
He has visited China twice a year over the last three or four years. His first trip to China was when he bought machinery there about 10 years ago.
“I think the Belt & Road project has some really exciting prospects for trade … I’m really looking forward to more cooperation between China and Europe and working to move into Europe through China,” Picot said.
Contrast to the peanut butter produced by some big companies with excessive oil and sugar and cheap ingredients, Picot said, “When I made peanut butter, that was made naturally with no sugar and freshly roasted peanuts.”
“I have put it down to the quality of the Australian peanuts, and then Maloney nuts are still warm. We squashed them and put them in the jar. I think that’s our secret. Really. It’s very, very simple. There’s no recipe, no secret ingredients, but it’s just good products treated in the right way,” he said.
Picot’s rise to success is motivational. The peanut butter guy, who is nearly blind due to macular degeneration, said he started making peanut butter when he was 55.
His entrepreneurship emerged at school when he started making leather sandals and Belts for his peers. He also learned a lot from his family’s food retail business.
Besides peanut butter, Pic also loves sailing but his eyesight was deteriorating so he had to give it up.
His 2,500 square meter, award winning “Pic’s Peanut Butter World” in Nelson is “a landmark building and a shining example of great urban design,” which attracts tourists globally.