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Current Position:Home » News » Special Foods » Topic

Almonds outpace total nut introductions globally, Europe leads the way

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2020-07-31  Origin: foodingredientsfirst  Views: 12
Core Tip: As consumer preferences shift toward better-for-you, plant-based and natural ingredients, almonds offer product developers the freedom to explore and identify opportunities for innovation.
As consumer preferences shift toward better-for-you, plant-based and natural ingredients, almonds offer product developers the freedom to explore and identify opportunities for innovation. That is according to Harbinder Maan, Associate Director Trade Marketing and Stewardship at Almond Board of California (ABC). Maan says: “Almonds are the current number one nut globally and have a powerful European story to tell.”

According to data from Innova Market Insights (Global New Product Introductions Report, May 2019), almonds experienced double-digit growth (13 percent) in 2019, with 12,206 new products with almonds introduced globally. For the first time in the report’s history, the Dairy category joined Confectionery, Snacks, Bakery and Bars as one of the top five categories for new product introductions with almonds, experiencing 19 percent growth compared to 2018. Dairy now holds an 8 percent share of total new almond product introductions. Almonds have been the number one nut for new product introductions since 2006.

“From a global perspective, we know that almonds are significant in a couple of categories such as snacks, confectionery and bakery, as well as dairy alternatives and bars. So in the US, especially, those are the key categories that we support from an ingredient standpoint and that we anticipate will grow,” Maan explains.

New and emerging categories
“When looking at specific categories on a global scale, Confectionery has seen the most growth, followed by Dairy, Bakery, Snacks and Bars,” notes Maan. “Those are the key categories that drive the greatest volume of almonds. There was a real effort against snacking several years ago, and snacking occasions is where we are driving our efforts in terms of messaging and research,” she explains.

Moreover, new almond product introductions across the Confectionery, Snacks, Bakery, Bars and Dairy categories account for 80 percent of global almond introductions. Still, almonds also experienced double-digit growth in notable emerging categories like Ice Cream and Desserts (17 percent) and Spreads (26 percent) (Innova Market Insights 2019 Global New Product Introductions Report, May 2019).

“This annual report captures the evolving work that goes into developing new products. It provides reassurance and validation behind using an ingredient like almonds and reinforces consumer demand,” says Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “If you’re making a shortlist of ingredients to include in product development and seeing these numbers, they should give you a lot of confidence. Almonds continue to show growth and expansion into new markets because they have undeniable consumer appeal and align with desirable health and texture claims.”

Europe shows positive growth
Also speaking with FoodIngredientsFirst, Kathryn Martino, Consultant to the Almond Board in Europe, says: “Almonds have maintained their top spot in Europe for the fifth year and have taken the number one spot in new product introductions. But what is even more interesting is that Europe is leading the way globally for new product introductions. So this year alone, Europe is responsible for around 44 percent of the global almond introductions.”

Martino also highlights a double-digit growth (12 percent) increase in products with almonds being introduced in Europe. “There is real confidence in Europe from manufacturers who continue to sell almonds as a safe bet. Europe has previously been a traditional ingredients market, and we are seeing growth again this year in those traditional categories like you would expect,” she continues. “Interestingly, for us this year, and for the first time, we see dairy enter the top five, so that is an area that has piqued our interest.”

Meanwhile, she flags some of the emerging categories that have provoked interest this year, including Spreads, Sports Nutrition, Soft Drinks, and Ice Creams and Desserts. “We are seeing significant growth and interest in these emerging categories and looking at the market by market basis. Germany, France and the UK are the leading markets for us, and Italy, which is an attractive market for us, has seen the biggest growth of 20 percent in almond introductions in the country last year.”

Martino adds that there has been “some activity in the market which we believe is helping drive this demand,” so ABC keeps an eye on Italy with interest to see what continues to come out of that market.

Another point of interest in almonds is some of the health claims that are being used on pack. “Globally, the new product report has shown that health claims were observed much more frequently on introductions with almonds compared to total food introductions and again in Europe that is outpacing the rest of the world, particularly the UK,” explains Martino. The top health claims that have been observed include vegan/vegetarian, high fiber, gluten-free, natural and organic.

“This year, the use of vegan claims across our European markets has been notable, supporting the data from Innova Market Insights,” she notes. “Manufacturers are catching sight of this and responding by putting certain labels on their products. Again it’s not surprising to me given that such a high percentage of the population in the UK identity as being flexitarian.”

Increasingly, fiber is playing a more significant role in the foods that many of us consume. “Fiber trends play into the increased focus on a ‘back to basics’ health approach that we see, which I imagine will become even more prevalent, given that we are living through COVID-19. It will be very interesting to see what next year's data will show,” Martino asserts.

“It’s no surprise that almonds continue to be a popular ingredient due to their versatility and nutrition, but how manufacturers expand almond usage across categories is more impressive every year,” Maan concludes.  
 
 
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