Every year, food industry manufacturers continue innovating and introducing new products in an attempt to attract new market segments, diversify their offerings and align with the new trends that drive food consumption among consumers. In all of these innovations, nuts and all of its derivatives are increasingly valued ingredients by innovation and product managers. In this article we will go over a few examples of nut-based food innovations.
Latest changes in consumer needs
After over two years since the pandemic struck, the effects that it has caused on food and beverage consumption habits around the world have certainly not gone unnoticed. For example, according to the latest food industry trends report for 2022 by Innova Market Insights, the concern over personal health and the environment has risen as a key driver of innovation in the food industry.
The concept of conscious customer is on the rise. This refers to a buyer that expects healthier, more transparent manufacturers who make efforts to attain zero-waste.
Plant-based products support this new consumer awareness, and here the innovation goes way beyond limiting meat or dairy products. Instead, we will see innovative plant-based launches in a myriad of new product types. Here, the formulations will focus on meeting expectations in regard to the flavour and texture of these innovative food solutions.
On the other hand, the pandemic has also strengthened the demand for functional products that bolster the immune system, improve sleep and reduce stress. Making formulations with ingredients that can provide a nutritional boost is an added value for any new launch, regardless of the food industry segment.
How do food industry manufacturers add value to new product developments? The influence of nuts
Nuts are a key ingredient in the food industry. Brands add them to their new product formulations due to their versatility, nutritional properties and ability to align with consumer values and motivations.
Why are nuts so important in food innovation?
1. Nuts are the best source of vegetable proteins for the food industry.
Not all vegetable proteins are made equal. A recent study by Nuts for Life1 has demonstrated that nuts offer a higher total protein content in relation to other sources of vegetable proteins.
2. Nuts demonstrate transparency in relation to the ingredients
Supply is becoming of major concern to consumers. It is no longer enough for foods to be delicious and tasty. Products need to be healthy and meet sustainability and sourcing requirements. Among vegetable proteins, nuts are a natural leader in this field and are a perfect fit for this narrative.
Keep learning: Food industry trends
3. Nuts support innovation towards premiumisation
Today’s consumers seek more premium experiences. With consumers spending most of their time at home, they are looking for new flavours, best-quality ingredients or new formats that intrigue them or offer an exciting experience that they cannot enjoy outside. Some aspects of premium products include: quality, luxury, flavour and benefits. Including natural or processed nuts such as almonds, pistachios or walnuts offers manufacturers a guarantee of success towards premiumization.
What are the latest nut-based food innovations?
Below you will find a few examples of innovative food products where nuts are a key ingredient of the formulation.
- New nutrient-dense almond flour crust pizzas and almond flour pasta: these products harness the proteins, fibre and healthy fats in almond flour to create pasta or to create the first-ever grain-free pizza.
- New vegan coffee pods and plant-based creamers and coffee drinks. We can see some innovative launches, like new almond latte, in major coffee brands following the increased demand for dairy alternatives.
- Nutrient rich bakery products. Two of the trendiest additions to sweet goods like cookies, brownies or bread are fruits and nuts. Consumer desire for immunity support, better-for-you nutrients and personalized diets has increased the addition of these ingredients in the bakery industry. Peanut butter keto sandwich biscuit -a product tailored to those who follow a keto diet and which contains only 1 net carb per serving- is a good example of these nut-based food innovations in bakery.
- Gluten-free and grain-free granolas. Some manufacturers are creating original mixes with almond, walnuts, dark chocolate or dried blueberries and cherries in the granola segment. Manufacturers are now capitalising on the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid content of walnuts by launching new lines of functional granolas.
- New dairy-alternative products. The “dairy” section at supermarkets has undergone a transformation in the past 10 years. Manufacturers in this segment are looking to introduce new nuts and innovation in the development of dairy products for the dairy industry. For example, walnuts offer the perfect dairy substitute, providing a creamy and nutty flavour perfect for milks, creamers and more.
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Importaco, at the forefront of nut-based food innovation
At Importaco and Itac Professional, its B2B brand, for years we have been researching and exploring the possibilities offered by nuts to satisfy new consumer demands. At our technology centre, 40 professionals work in seven laboratories focused on the performance of physical, chemical and microbiological analyses. Furthermore, we undertake neuroscience studies to comprehend how consumers perceive raw materials through stimuli.
A recent development at this innovation centre has been the defatted peanut powder. This is a new protein-rich low-fat product aimed at athletes and vegan consumers that has conquered the aisles of the largest retail chain in Spain.
DISCOVER THE LATEST INNOVATIONS WITH ALMONDS AND PEANUTS IN NEW PRODUCT DEVELOPMENTS
1The effect of plant and nut protein on human and planetary health, literature scope commissioned by Nuts for Life and conducted by Nutrition Research Australia 2020.
Food Navigator. The rise of the ‘conscious customer’ to drive future food trends: Innova Market.
Food Manufacture. Food industry trends 2022: from COVID-19 to climate change.
California Walnuts Commission. Walnuts: New Product Developments.
PQ a Magazine from the National Peanut Board. Issue 44.
FONA International. Trend Insight: Premiumization.