ST. PAUL — Minnesota, already the home or birthplace of the Hamm’s Bear, the Jolly Green Giant and the Pillsbury Dough Boy, can add a well-known newcomer to its pantheon of iconic food brand mascots. At the ripe old age of 105 — or age 1, depending upon how you count — Mr. Peanut rolled into St. Paul’s Como Regional Park on Thursday, July 15, to celebrate his adoption by Hormel Foods.
Hormel, based in Austin, Minn., completed purchase of the entire Planters snack nut portfolio from Kraft Heinz for $3.35 billion in June. The acquisition included Planters, Nut-rition, Planters Cheez Balls and Corn Nuts, as well as three production facilities.
The dapper Mr. Peanut mascot, who dresses in a top hat, monocle and a cane, was born in 1916 and laid to rest in January 2020, weeks ahead of the Super Bowl, in an advertising campaign that featured him sacrificing himself to save actors Wesley Snipes and Matt Walsh after an explosive crash involving the NUTmobile. He was resurrected a few weeks later as a well-dressed Baby Nut in a Super Bowl LIV commercial.
The 26-foot-long NUTmobile, which tours the country promoting the Planters brand, also made a showing at Como Park. As part of its promotional campaign, Mr. Peanut is distributing $5 million nationally, mostly in the form of $10,000 “Little Acts of Substance” checks to nonprofits and individuals involved in charitable acts. A total of 10 checks will be distributed in Minnesota this summer to five nonprofits and “five Minnesotans who add substance to their community,” reads a prepared statement from the company.
On Thursday, Mr. Peanut awarded $10,000 to the Thielen Foundation, a youth sports initiative founded by Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen.