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It's not just choosy moms who choose Jif. The 52-year-old brand, owned since 2002 by jam maker J.M. Smucker (SJM), has been the top-selling peanut butter since 1981. The former Procter & Gamble (PG) product has kept up with ever-changing consumer tastes and trends by launching new versions, such as Extra Crunchy in 1974, Simply Jif with lower sugar and sodium in 1991, reduced fat in 1995, and the portable Jif To Go in 2006. The "Choosy Moms" tagline, which made its debut in 1968, has been refreshed as well in ads featuring dads, grandparents, and working mothers. All that helped Jif's sales at U.S. retailers rise 3 percent, to $317 million, in 2009, according to market researchers SymphonyIRI Group in Chicago.
Meanwhile, Unilever's (UL) Skippy, the longtime No. 2, has increased its market share to 17.2 percent, from 16.3 percent three years ago, by touting its all-natural varieties, including a honey-flavored line introduced in March. Skippy, first sold in 1933, also benefits from ownership of the coveted peanutbutter.com Internet domain, where visitors can learn how to make "peanut butter BLT" wraps. —Matt Boyle
3. Peter Pan
5. Smart Balance