Almonds The Leading Nut Ingredient in New Products Worldwide

July 15/Modesto, Calif./Almond Board of California -- Almonds were the leading nut used in new food products worldwide for the second year in a row, according to the 2009 Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). The growth of new almond products from 2008-2009 (up 18%) outpaced both new food product introductions in general (up 15%) and new nut product introductions (up 12%). There were 347 more almond product introductions than peanuts and 531 more new almond products than hazelnuts, the second and third nuts respectively.

“Food manufacturers seem increasingly aware of almonds’ value and versatility as an ingredient and the fact that almonds are in demand by consumers all over the globe, as evidenced by all this new product activity,” said Stacey Humble, director, North America Marketing and Global Strategic Initiatives for Almond Board of California (ABC). “Almonds are recognized by consumers and food professionals alike as a natural food that is both irresistibly delicious and nutritious -- a win-win combination.”  

Historically, almonds have shown the strongest numbers in the bakery, snacks and confectionery categories and continued to perform well in those segments this year. * In Europe, confectionery remains the top category for almond introductions, with 28% of new almond products appearing in this category. * Bakery is the second leading category in Europe, with 24% of all new almond products appearing in this group. * Confectionery also continues to be the leading category for almond introductions in Asia-Pacific (34%), followed by snack products (20%). * Snacking remained North America’s leading category, with the region accounting for nearly a third of global almond snack introductions in 2009.  

“According to Mintel's Global New Products Database, product introductions containing almonds continue to increase,” said Lynn Dornblaser, Mintel’s leading new products expert. “Almonds appear in virtually every product category, from beverages to bakery, from meals to sauces. The versatility of this nut -- from sweet to savory applications, and from healthy to indulgent formulations -- is what helps to ensure new product introductions grow every year.”

Regional Highlights
Europe continues to introduce more almond products than any other region, making up 38% of the total global new almond product introductions, a 3% increase from 2008.

Almond product introductions in Europe increased by 27% in 2009, compared to new products with nuts, which increased by 18 %. In 2009, almost 32% of nut product introductions in Europe contained almonds, led by Germany (121 products), France (79 products), and the U.K. (67 products).

The California almond industry’s consumer research supports almonds’ position as Europe’s favorite ingredient nut. A recent survey shows that more than half of European consumers rate almonds “excellent” or “good” as “a healthy snack.” Almonds score well to Europeans on important value attributes such as “natural” (69%) and “easy to eat on the go” (66%). Consumers also report that “a product with almonds is more nutritious” (64%) and “something I am more likely to buy” (62%).

North America
The U.S. outpaces every market in the world for new product introductions, with Canada close behind, ranking at number three. Retail brands are helping to maintain this leadership position. Three of the top five almond introducers in the U.S. were from retail brands, suggesting that manufacturers see the value of keeping almonds in their formulas and on the label.

Perhaps the most significant growth opportunity exists within the breakfast cereal category. According to almond industry research, North American consumers believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Half of all cereal eaters prefer their cereal with nuts, and almonds are described as the nut most often eaten at breakfast, the most preferred nut at breakfast, and the best fit over other nuts at breakfast.

Almonds became the number one nut introduced in Asia-Pacific, surpassing peanuts for the first time. The region saw almond introductions increase by 34%, outpacing nut introductions, which saw a 24% increase.

From the August 16, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition