Almonds retain top spot for product inclusions across Europe
An international new product report from Innova Market Insights has found that almonds remain the most popular nut in new product introductions across Europe, with strong use within confectionery.
According to the study, relevance to established health trends, such as consumer preferences for clean label foods, helped drive almonds to the top spot for ingredients for the fourth consecutive year.
Overall, there were 4,837 new product introductions with almonds in Europe in 2018, representing 45% of all new product introductions with almonds globally.
The report shows that Germany, France and the U.K. lead the European market, collectively introducing more than 2,000 new almond products in 2018.
Almonds are the number one nut for snacks in Europe. Also, confectionary specifically ranks as the top category for almond introductions (27 percent) in the region. Bakery is the second most popular category for new almond product introductions (17 percent). Almonds are also leading the way across the cereal category, which has seen the strongest growth for almonds (+8 percent), and bars, where almonds’ versatility makes them the top nut choice for manufacturers.
“Increasingly, consumers in Europe are seeking out ingredients that are convenient without sacrificing on taste. Product developers are tapping into the nutritional appeal and extensive versatility of almonds to grow and innovate within their product lines” said Dariela Roffe-Rackind, Director Europe & Global Public Relations at the Almond Board of California.
“Available in more forms than any other tree nut – from whole, slivered, chopped, butter, oil and milk to name a few -, almonds can be used in multiple ways across competitive categories to really help products stand out. This allows developers the ability to cater to a number of growing trends, many of which don’t necessarily require complex processes. For example, demand for flavoured almonds – both sweet and savoury – is extremely high amongst consumers in North America and other global markets, yet this is an opportunity still to be fully explored in Europe. We expect to see growth here.”
Globally, almonds are experiencing double digit year over year growth in specialty categories such as desserts and ice cream (+10 percent), dairy (+13 percent), spreads (+29 percent) and sports nutrition (+95 percent).
“Globally we’re seeing strong growth in what were previously smaller categories, such as sports nutrition, spreads, and dairy products,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation, Innova Market Insights. “Almond versatility is especially evident in these peripheral categories across new almond milk beverages and almond-based protein powders being introduced. Furthermore, a 29% increase in global almond introductions in the “spreads” category speaks to the growing consumer demand for nutrient dense snacking options.”
In addition, as consumer interest for plant-based, clean label and gluten-free products rises across Europe, demand for ingredients like almonds that carry natural health-related claims is also on the rise. The report highlighted the top claims used on packaging of almond products, noting that “gluten-free” was the top claim used (23 percent) worldwide. Notably, 36 percent of almond products introduced in the “bars” category were labelled “gluten-free”. Claims of “no additives/preservatives” were the second most used on almond product introductions globally, communicated on 17 percent of almond products, up two percent from 2017.
Almonds are a healthy ingredient for new product development, and when compared per portion (28g) with other tree nuts, almonds are the highest in six essential nutrients: protein (6g), fibre (4g), calcium (75mg), vitamin E (7.4mg), riboflavin (0.3mg) and niacin (1mg). They are also a natural, nutrient-rich ingredient with an appealing taste and crunch – “crunchy” was the descriptor used most frequently on almond products worldwide.