Premium Peanut LLC

An interview with Karl Zimmer, CEO, Premium Peanut LLC

Premium Peanut

FlyoverIn April 2016, APC interviewed Karl Zimmer, President & CEO of Premium Peanut in one of APC’s first “Member Spotlights.”
Premium Peanut was formed in the fall of 2014, in part to provide a stable and accessible market for peanut growers in South Georgia. A brand-new, $50 million "State of the Art" shelling facility was completed in early 2017 and was the single largest shelling plant in the world, handling over 250,000 tons annually.

On Sept. 8, 2021, Premium Peanut announced plans to establish operations in Orangeburg County. The $64.3 million investment will create 130 new jobs.

Premium Peanut’s new facility will provide more capacity and allow South Carolina peanut growers the opportunity to be a part of a cooperative model. This facility will build on the company’s existing model, creating maximum value of every peanut for its grower-owners. Premium Peanut’s customers consist of the major snack, candy and peanut butter manufacturers domestically, as well as customers in more than 30 countries around the world.

Zimmer said, “Premium Peanut is proud of the value we have been able to create for over 400 grower-owners, in addition to providing quality products to customers around the world. We are thrilled to expand our operations and establish our footprint in South Carolina."


Premium Peanut is a relatively new sheller in the area. Can you tell me what prompted your growers’ decision to establish a new shelling facility?

The primary driver to establish Premium Peanut was to create a stable market for the growers in the region. We offer growers stability in that they know the sheller will buy their peanuts, and as such, we can provide our customers with stability in knowing that they will get high quality peanuts consistently, year after year.

How many different peanut farms supply your facility, and from how wide of an area do you source?

We work with over 200 shareholders; something unique is that individual shareholders have to grow the peanuts on land they farm for Premium Peanuts. We use 100% Georgia grown peanuts.

pp factory2What is the capacity at the shelling plant?

Our short term capacity stands at 200,000 tons of farmerstock per year, but we believe our maximum capacity is closer to 300,000 tons annually, running 24/7. We run our plant as efficiently as possible, though, so we expect to process between 150,000 – 200,000 tons from the 2016 crop.

What are some of the food safety initiatives that Premium Peanut follows in order to ensure your customers top quality and safe peanuts?

Premium is a very technologically advanced plant with extensive cleaning and sorting operations that occur at each stage of the peanut process: all the way from the farmers stock at the buying points to redskins at the shelling facility. We use state-of-the-art Satake optical sorters, which are programmed based on color and shape to help ensure the best quality peanuts at the plant. We have our GMP procedures, along with our HACCP systems. We are AIB certified and expect to complete BRC certification very shortly. We also actively communicate and work with our growers to help ensure good practices in the field. In short, both our food safety and quality are at the highest levels at each stage of the process.

Do you expect increased export growth opportunities outside of the U.S. in the future?

Yes, definitely. We must work to develop export markets; they are a huge opportunity for the U.S. peanut industry. In fact, I am planning to attend the International Peanut Forum to continue to learn about export markets and develop stronger contacts.

How has membership in the American Peanut Council helped your company so far?

Membership with the American Peanut Council has been extremely helpful for us as we grow our business. APC provides great information on export markets and informs us of changes in regulations, especially with the EU. In addition, the trade missions and reverse trade missions that APC has organized have given us the opportunity to develop sound business relationships with many importers of U.S. peanuts. Finally, the opportunity to sponsor and participate at various APC events and conferences allows us to further expand our contacts and interact with current and prospective customers.

Being new to the peanut industry and bringing a new outside perspective, what do you think are the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the industry today?

The challenges are opportunities. The industry operates using lots of historical knowledge; now, with the advancement of many IT systems, decisions can be based on data. Data-driven decision making is a significant opportunity, but first, we need to upgrade our overall IT systems to integrate the supply chain so that we have the latest data from the grower level all the way to manufacturers. By looking across the entire supply chain, we have the opportunity to reduce costs, increase quality and improve the decision-making process.

Warehouse 1What makes Premium Peanut unique in the shelling business?

We are unique in that we have a brand new state-of-the-art facility! Plus, all of our shareholders grow our peanuts, which establishes an incredibly strong link between our growers and buying points, and ultimately enables us to provide a consistently high quality peanut.

Tell us about your grand opening activities planned for April 22.

It’s going to be a great big event! Our plant is running five days a week for 24 hours a day, and all those that come and celebrate with us will be able to see the plant in operation, as we will be giving tours.

For more information, please contact:

Karl Zimmer
Premium Peanut, LLC
311 Barrington Rd.
Douglas, GA


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