Food giant Sanitarium has re-introduced a locally made peanut butter in an effort to allay safety fears about Chinese produce, but customers will have to pay premium prices for peace of mind.
The Kiwi-trusted brand used to source its peanut butter from Australia and the United States, but shifted production to China late last year to remain competitive.
After being flooded with calls from customers worried about their favourite spread being made in a country so far away, Sanitarium has announced it will make another peanut butter in Australia, as well as keeping the existing one.
The Green Party has launched a campaign for labelling on foods with one main component, such as fruits, vegetables, seafoods and meats.
Sanitarium does label its products with country of origin but general manager Pierre van Heerden said the campaign may have highlighted that its product was not sourced locally, sparking concern.
"I think it's easier for people to accept cross-Tasman products. Some people may not trust food that comes from further afield.
"We're doing what we should [by labelling], we've got everything on there but suddenly people became scared."
Sanitarium peanut butter is available in a 375g size, retailing for about $2.75, and a 1kg size for about $7.06.
The new peanut butter will be available in 500g for $3.99, about a 10 per cent premium. It will be available in smooth, crunchy and low-salt varieties in about eight weeks.
In an advertisement Mr van Heerden said: "You would have noticed that most peanut butter brands available in New Zealand are made in China. Their larger scale enables them to produce at a more cost-effective price."
For 18 months Sanitarium searched for a factory that adhered to its safety and quality standards.
Mr van Heerden said the company often tests the peanut butter in China and on arrival in New Zealand.
Greens' safe food spokeswoman Sue Kedgley applauded Sanitarium.
"I'm delighted that they're listening to their consumers and responding to their demands. They strongly support country of origin labelling.
"People just assumed [the peanut butter] was made in New Zealand because it was a New Zealand brand but they suddenly looked at the print."
"It is acknowledged that the Chinese do not have the infrastructure to ensure food quality and safety."