Data from Mintel’s Global New Products Database and shared by the Almond Board of California suggest an 18 per cent increase in almond-containing products launched in the EU-27 in 2009. Nuts (all varieties) saw a 12 per cent increase in launches, and total food launches were up 15 per cent.
According to the Almond Board, 18 per cent is an all-time high growth rate. The most introductions were seen in Germany with 121 new products, of which 51 were marzipan, followed by France with 79 and the UK with 67.
Some 28 per cent of new almond products listed were in the confectionery/chocolate category, and 24 per cent were in bakery products. Eighteen per cent were in snack foods.
The current emphasis on confectionery indicates that almonds are accepted in indulgent, treat foods, but a recent survey by the Almond Board indicates that there is also good acceptance of their healthy profile.
In a research project conducted by the Board in the UK, Germany and France – the top three European countries – 62 per cent of respondents (3000 in total) said they would be more likely to buy a product if it had almonds in. A similar proportion noted perceived healthy and nutritious properties of almonds.
Almond Board suggests that snack foods present a good opportunity for development the market. Some 54 per cent of respondents said they considered almonds to be a good snack on taste grounds, and 66 per cent said they are easy to eat ‘on the go’.
As for awareness of the specific attributes of almonds, around half of respondents noted that they are high in ‘good-for-you-oils’, and slightly fewer recognised then as a ‘good source of fibre’.
Other lesser-known attributes include satiety, a spectrum of vitamins and minerals, a high polyphenol content and research indicating their role in a low saturated fat diet for healthy blood cholesterol.
The Almond Board also draws attention to the technical role of almonds in foods. At the recent IFT trade show in Chicago a chef at the Board’s booth showcased their use in a range of different dips and sources to bring texture as well as taste.