Nuts for nuts: Almond NPD thrives, label-friendly claims & versatility boosts gains

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30 Jul 2018 --- Almonds continue to lead new product introductions worldwide, according to new data from Innova Market Insights. The Global New Products Report from Innova Market Insights found that almond introductions grew in four out of the five key categories for almonds worldwide, including confectionery (22 percent), snacks (19 percent) and bakery (17 percent), as well as bars (16 percent) and cereal (8 percent). This growth helped almonds maintain their long-held position as the top nut in global new product introductions.

The Global New Products Report also highlighted the top claims used on the packaging of products with almonds globally, noting that “gluten-free” was the top claim used (24 percent). Following trends and consumer demands for clean label products, claims of “no additives/preservatives” were the second most used on almond product introductions globally, communicated on 15 percent of almond products. In a nod to almonds’ well-known texture, “crunchy” was used as a descriptor significantly more frequently than other texture claims on almond products.

Click to EnlargeAt the IFT in Chicago earlier this month, FoodIngredientsFirst spoke with Molly Spence who notes that there are a lot of new things almond related that we can expect to see. 

“Globally, we have a seen a very positive story with almonds in new product introductions. There have been over 10,000 new products globally, a 12 percent increase, in new products that are using almonds. And out of all the new nut products in the US, 48 percent of those are using almonds.”

“One category that we see doing really well is in bars, they grew at 17 percent last year and the biggest claims were gluten-free and clean label related.”

“Almonds fit with a lot of different trends and we have taken advantage of that over the years,” she adds.

At IFT, Spence presented some of the Almond Board’s new concepts, including almond butter and Lavender Rose Almond Crispers, which, according to Spence “shows the versatility of almonds.”

“From data that we have seen from Innova Market Insights, we know that ‘thins’ are popular. We decided to make this one without chocolate, roasted very slowly, with the crisp quality coming from the sliced almonds and quinoa. The crisp and crunchy texture is very appealing and it shows how almonds can be used in different formats,” she explains. 

“We also have concepts which use almond butter as a binder, therefore showing their versatility, where almond butter can be used as a binder, a filling or a spread,” Spence notes.Click to Enlarge

You can view the video interview with Spence here

“With free from and clean label products now so mainstream, we frequently see almonds’ attributes named on packaging,” notes Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation, Innova Market Insights. “For example, we see a high use of gluten-free claims on almond bar products when compared to the general product category. In fact, over 56 percent of almond bars feature gluten-free positioning, compared with less than 46 percent for the category as a whole.” 

In North America, 48 percent of product introductions with nuts contain almonds, which are also the number one nut used in new products across the top five key categories: confectionery, snacks, bakery, bars and cereal. Bars lead the charge for new almond product introductions in North America, up 17 percent since 2016.  

In Europe and Asia-Pacific, almonds are the top nut for new product introductions, while Latin America saw the highest level of growth for almond introductions in 2017 (24 percent). Europe leads almond product growth overall, with a 47 percent share of global introductions for the second year in a row, with bars and snacking driving almond product growth by 53 percent and 32 percent respectively, according to Innova Market Insights data.  

“As consumers seek out products that offer on-the-go, clean label, convenience and nutrition without sacrificing on taste, manufacturers must identify ingredients to stand out in competitive categories,” says Emily Fleischmann, Senior Director, Global Marketing at the Almond Board of California. 

“The unmatched versatility of almonds means they can help manufacturers innovate to meet demands of the current and next generation of consumers. California almonds are safe, sustainable and have a relatively long shelf life, adding to the attributes manufacturers are looking for.” 

Almonds can now be labeled “healthy,” according to the Food and Drug Administration, and when compared ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut highest in six essential nutrients: protein (6g), fiber (4g), calcium (75mg), vitamin E (7.4mg), riboflavin (0.3mg) and niacin (1mg).

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