California almonds were the number one nut used in new products worldwide in 2016, the 10th year that almonds have held the lead position for nuts used in new product introductions, according to Innova Market Insights.
The Innova Global New Products Report states almonds were featured in 38% of new food introductions featuring nuts in 2016, a 5% increase from the previous year.
Key categories for worldwide almond product launches include confectionery (23%), bakery (20%) and snacks (18%), as well as bars (12%) and cereal (9%), which together account for 82% of almond product introductions.
In more than 15 forms including almond milk, butter and flour, almonds are one of the most versatile nuts and the nut that is most top-of-mind for global consumers.
In addition to the top five categories for almond product introductions, the dairy and dessert categories also saw exciting growth.
The dairy category, which includes almond milk, saw a 26% increase in almond introductions, and the desserts and ice cream category had an increase of 33% more almond products in 2016.
“The market place is also looking for these products to align with the growing consumer desire for ‘clean’ products, while ensuring they are safe, sustainable and shelf stable,” said Emily Fleischmann, senior director, global marketing at the Almond Board of California.
The Innova Market Insights report also highlighted the top claims used on packaging of products with almonds, noting that “gluten-free” was the top claim used in new almond product introductions globally (23%).
The claims ‘no additives/preservatives’ and ‘high/source of fiber’ were tied for the second most used claim on almond product introductions globally, communicated on the packaging of 14% of almond products.
‘Crunchy’ was used as a descriptor significantly more often in association with almond products.
Regionally, almonds are the top nut for new product introductions in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific, while Latin America saw the highest level of growth for almond introductions in 2016 (66%).
Latin America’s almond product growth makes the country 4th overall by share, behind Europe which leads at 47%, Asia Pacific (20%) and North America (19%).
In addition to their unparalleled versatility, almonds can now be labeled ‘healthy’, according to the Food and Drug Administration.
When compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in six essential nutrients: protein (6 g), fiber (4 g), calcium (75 mg), vitamin E (7.4 mg), riboflavin (0.3 mg), and niacin (1 mg).