Noticing more food products with almonds on the label? Hershey's Nuggets with Almonds? Post's Cranberry Almond Crunch? Brach's Almond Supremes? Blue Diamond's Almond Breeze and Nut*Thins with almonds, for example?
These new almond products--and dozens more around the world--have hit retail shelves in the past couple of years, heralding a resurgence in new products that feature almonds--a new wave of almond products that has been documented by a study of food product introductions.
The study confirms what Blue Diamond has long known through its daily interaction with major food manufacturers: The strong consumer appeal of California almonds increasingly leads food manufacturers to include almonds in their new product plans, because consumers want more products with almonds, almonds help sell food products, and almonds add value to a food product.
Blue Diamond's marketers, who work closely with leading food manufacturers on new product formulations and technical issues, report that almonds are seen as offering advantages that no other nut can match. Almonds have a delicate, buttery flavor that is compatible with a wide range of cuisines, including newly popular styles, such as Latin American, Mediterranean, and Asian; a crunchy texture that has staying power; eye-appeal; and an upscale image with consumers. Blue Diamond's work with leading candy, cereal, bakery, dairy, beverage, and packaged food manufacturers results in a string of new products annually.
According to the review of products introduced in 1997, almonds are definitely in more new products than ever. Almonds starred as the most popular nut to be used as an ingredient in new products for the baked goods, breakfast cereal, desserts, and beverages categories.
Conducted by Sterling-Rice Group for the Almond Board of California, the 1997 "Share of Nut Overview" counted 646 product introductions that contained nuts as an ingredient. More than 30 percent of these included almonds, almost as many as the next five tree nuts combined--pecans, walnuts, macadamias, cashews, and pistachios.
Almonds were the nuts most often partnered with chocolate. In all, 63 chocolate-almond candies made their debut that year.
Their taste, crunch and prestige appeal won almonds the nod for 31percent of new products in the baked goods category, where almonds were again the most popular nut ingredient.
Of the 29 new beverages introduced, 62 percent were made with almonds. And almonds captured a 28 percent share of new dairy products made with nuts.
Look for the word "almond" on more labels in the years ahead as Blue Diamond encourages manufacturers to include almonds in still more new products.
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