The European region as a whole saw a total of 5,017 new almond-based products out of a total of 10,589 globally. This makes the region number one for almond-based product launches for the 11th consecutive year.
Within Europe, the biggest markets for the nut were Germany, France and the UK.
However, the same figures from Innova Marketing Research shows there has been a 14% decrease in product launches using almonds in Europe since last year.
Almonds were the most favoured nut for four out of five product categories: bakery, snacks, bars and cereals. In confectionery, hazelnuts still occupy the number one spot with almonds coming second.
According to the industry association Almond Board of California, busy lifestyles in France account for the popularity of the nut there, which is seen as a convenient yet healthy on-the-go snack.
“The popularity of almonds can also be attributed to their role as nutrient-rich natural ingredients, their appealing taste, crunchiness and high stability of supply,” it added.
Innova's Global New Product Launches Report identified the main claims manufacturers are making for almond-based products. Number one is ‘gluten-free’, which features on nearly one quarter (24%) of products, followed by ‘no additives or preservatives’ that appears on 15%.
The texture most frequently associated with almonds is their crunchiness, which is the most used on-pack adjective, according to the market research company.
"’Free-from’ claims and healthy 'clean label' products have become the norm and we see that the qualities of almonds are often mentioned on the packaging," said director of innovation at Innova Lu-Ann Williams.
"For example, there are many ‘gluten-free’ claims on almond bars compared to the category as a whole. In fact, more than 56% of almond bars mention that they are gluten-free compared to less than 46% in the category in general," she added.
Around 80% of the world’s supply of almonds are grown in California.
The increase in global demand for almonds has led the Almond Board of California to explore ways to use the by-products of the almond industry, such as the hulls, husks and twigs. Almond-based sugar, beer, liqueur, plastic, compost and electricity are all examples of products it has developed.