Almonds have been the most popular ingredient nut in new products for six years running, and have seen a surge in popularity with cereal makers over the past year, according to new data released by the Almond Board of California.
In new products overall, the use of almonds grew by 27% in 2011, and was the most used nut ingredient in four out of five major regions of the world: North America, Latin America, Middle East and Africa, and Asia Pacific, the Almond Board said.
The growth was driven by the cereal category, in which almond use was up 24% on 2010. And North America led the pack, with a 35% increase in almond use in new cereal products last year.
Vice president of global market development for the Almond Board of California John Talbot said: “When it comes to product development, almonds are an ingredient with universal appeal – versatility, great-taste and better-for-you qualities that are recognized by consumers all over the world.”
Crop sizes have increased over the past five years to meet increased demand, and hit 2bn pounds in 2012, according to the US Department of Agriculture.
“The almond industry has demonstrated the ability to supply increasing crop sizes, year on year, offering more opportunity for product developers than ever before,” Talbot said.
Last year, chocolate confectionery was the leading category for global new product launches containing almonds, and overall almond use was up 30% in 2010 compared to 2009 levels.
LuAnn Williams, head of research for Innova Market Insights, which conducted the study on behalf of the Almond Board, said: “The surge of almond usage in new cereal products should come as no surprise because there aren’t many ingredients that work so well with today’s food trends toward natural and nutritious. With 3.5 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein per serving, almonds certainly fit the bill. Plus, almonds are from California, a place consumers know.”