How many peanut butter sandwiches does the average parent make in a week? It would probably be an exaggeration to say thousands, but it certainly seems that way sometimes. Raising three children as a single dad, Andy Scherer had often thought how useful a peanut butter pump would be so that he could make those sandwiches more quickly and with less mess.
In an article on the National Peanut Board website, Scherer called himself a “tinkerer” and admitted that he kept a list of inventions that he wanted to work on “someday.” Someday came unexpectedly when he was laid off from his financial services job. Working in his kitchen and garage, the first peanut butter pump prototype was finished in June 2017, and Scherer enlisted his family and friends to try out the product by making sandwiches, and putting peanut butter toppings on hot dogs, apples and stir fry! Scherer continued to refine his prototype and in October 2017, a patent application was filed.
Scherer’s brother, Pete, was so impressed with the pump that in April of 2018 he created an Instagram account and set up a Facebook page to start promoting the idea. Scherer continued refining and improving the pump throughout the year. In December, 2018 he presented the prototype at the Los Angeles Maker Faire, described as a gathering of fascinating, curious people who enjoy learning and who love sharing what they can do.
An Indigogo campaign was initiated on January 25, 2019, and the response was overwhelming. Within three days they had reached 80% of the funding goal and by the middle of February had reached twice their initial goal, with over 1,000 backers. Scherer and the Peanut Butter Pump were featured on the Pickler and Ben show on February, 20, 2019 and on Good Morning America on February 27, 2019. The Indigogo campaign announced the first stretch goal which was reached in a week, with over 2,000 backers on board. In the middle of March 2019, a second extended goal was initiated. The campaign ended in April 2019, having raised $133,622 from 3,602 backers.
The Peanut Butter Pump fastens to a standard 40-ounce jar and dispenses through a food-safe tube system. There are two attachments to choose from—a ribbon nozzle that is perfect for sandwich making and a stream nozzle that works best for pumping peanut butter onto a stick of celery or into a blender to make a smoothie. While there are other pumps on the market, Scherer has designed his with a unique, sliding air lock, which produces a consistent flow from standard retail containers by blocking out the air. Recently Scherer added a 48-inch adapter to allow use on the larger containers that are used by restaurants or obtained through stores such as Costco or Sam’s Club. The pump is recommended for “no stir” products (where the oil doesn’t separate) and works with smooth or crunchy peanut butter, as well as for almond butter.
Scherer admits that at first his college-age son thought he was a bit crazy when he started on this journey, but changed his mind when he saw the pump in action. One Facebook comment explained how the pump could make life easier. Because she has celiac, but her husband does not, they always need to have two separate jars in order to avoid contamination from the bread when her husband makes a sandwich. Using the pump, they would be able to share one jar. There have also been suggestions that the pump might be useful for other household items such as gels or creams.
Excited to be appearing on Shark Tank, Scherer jokes that while some folks use peanut butter to lure catfish, he is hoping it will work for sharks!