How almonds can help food manufacturers respond to evolving consumer demand8 Feb 2023
As tough and uncertain times push consumers to make hard choices, manufacturers need to get creative as cost, values, comfort, and new experiences are priorities. Almonds, with their multiple health benefits, forms and formats are the perfect ingredient to do more with less.
According to Innova Market Insights, ’redefining value’ is now the top global concern for consumers. Consumers are seeking brands that listen, understand, and respond to their core values while providing quality, trust and confidence through product formulations, communications and wider sustainability actions. As a result, demand for plant-based products remains - but this sits alongside the need for moments of luxury and personal health which continue to be a big driver in food innovation.
As a responsibly-grown, plant-based ingredient with 14 different forms to aid innovation and a strong nutritional profile, product manufacturers can feel reassured that almonds are a future-proof ingredient with sustained relevance when it comes to evolving consumer demand.
Innova Market Insights’ key trend predictions for 2023 are:
Times are tough, and consumers are having to weigh up product costs against the wider benefits they deliver. It’s important that manufacturers understand that sustainability remains a high priority in purchase decisions. Brands must continue to demonstrate their sustainability credentials to market a product that consumers perceive to be truly ‘valuable’ beyond just price.
How do almonds fit this trend? When it comes to California almonds, manufacturers don’t need consumers to compromise as they deliver on value and values. Almonds are packed with nutrients and bring a health halo to products without sacrificing on taste or convenience thanks to their texture and various forms. What’s more, as consumers continue to prioritise sustainability in their food choices, manufacturers can use California almonds in good conscience. Farmers have reduced the water needed to grow each almond by 33 percent between the 1990s and 2010s. In 2018, they set a goal of an additional 20% reduction by 2025 and have already achieved 15%. Thanks also to widespread adoption of climate-smart regenerative ag methods such as whole orchard recycling, current almond farming practices offset about 50% of associated carbon emissions.
Innova Market Insights’ report shows an elevation of the role food plays when it comes to joy, excitement, and comfort. It revealed that global consumers have spent more on food and beverages post-lockdown to lift their mood. Despite 3 in 5 consumers saying they have a worsened financial situation; they are also likely to still make a one-time impulse purchase for a product that offers innovative flavour or taste benefits, showing there’s a clear opportunity for manufacturers to introduce products that can deliver a trendy, innovative twist on familiar foods that consumers are looking for.
How do almonds fit this trend? Almonds can support manufacturers looking to develop products with more innovative and niche flavours as they are a great flavour carrier and pair well with so many sweet and savoury ingredients. Almonds can also help bring joy and comfort through chocolate, with happiness as the top reason for increased chocolate consumption from 2020 to 2021.1 Almonds can elevate chocolate products as they are the number one ingredient choice globally when it comes to consumers’ chocolate preferences, with consumers believing they make chocolate tastier, more satisfying, and more indulgent.1
The ability to prioritise personal health and wellness remains key at a time when so much can’t be controlled, and food continues to play a vital role. Innova Market Insight’s “Unpuzzle Health” trend demonstrates an ongoing consumer need to know how food delivers on personal health goals. With an ever-evolving range of diets and lifestyles, Innova Market Insights noted that on-pack messaging is a go-to source for busy consumers wanting to understand the health and nutritional value of a product.
© Almond Board of California
How do almonds fit into this trend? Almonds are suitable for a whole range of dietary and lifestyle choices from vegetarian to keto. Manufacturers can feel confident when using almonds to respond to a wide variety of consumers’ health goals, given they are one of the world’s most researched foods with over 200 scientific publications to date evidencing their positive impact on heart health, gut health, cognitive function, weight management and skin health to name a few. In fact, globally, product introductions with almonds lead to a higher likelihood of health claims2* due to their high nutrient content which support a variety of health needs.
PLANT-BASED: UNLOCKING A NEW NARRATIVE
Momentum for plant-based continues, which is no surprise, but increasingly, demand for stand-alone plant-based innovation is driving this trend. Beyond substitutes for meat and dairy, consumers are looking for more variety and seeking real culinary creativity and worldwide flavour profiles, whether in prepared products, meal kits or inventive recipe combinations. There’s also a growing demand for plant-based in ethnic food categories that offer new flavour experiences, opening up an exciting opportunity for plant-based food manufacturers.
How do almonds fit into this trend? Almonds are a great ingredient when it comes to standalone plant-based innovation because of their ability to deliver on multiple fronts - health, taste, and texture - all key factors for consumers. In addition to their protein content (6g per 30g serving), almonds pair well with other plant proteins like legumes and lentils and their extensive portfolio of formats - including whole, sliced, slivered, flour, paste, butter, oil, and milk – means there are endless possibilities for creating new and exciting plant-based products. For example, defatted almond flour, which is higher in protein than regular almond flour or meal, has an extra-fine texture and clean taste which allows other ingredients to shine through when used in product formulation so flavours can really stand out.
- 2022 Global Chocolate Study, Almond Board of California.
- Innova Market Insights, Global New Product Introductions Report, 2021. May 2022.
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