According to the Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD), almonds became the leading nut introduced in new products worldwide in 2008, with 160 more new product introductions than peanuts and 423 more new products than hazelnuts. In a global food market that declined six percent in new product introductions overall, new almond introductions held virtually stable from 2007 to 2008, declining by only one percent. Almonds maintained a 29 percent share of new nut product introductions and continued to be the most diversified nut with high introductions across all regions and categories.
The California almond industry’s recurring tracking studies of food professionals and consumers corroborate almonds’ position as the number one nut for new product introductions:
- Total worldwide shipments of California almonds increased 18 percent in fiscal year 2007/08 over the previous year, reaching a record 1.26 billion pounds (572,058 metric tons). About 52 percent of all California almonds sold go into manufactured food products.
- The top factors that influence manufacturers’ usage of almonds (taste, consumer demand, versatility and visual appeal) closely mirror the attributes of ingredients in general that manufacturers define as “valuable” (taste, texture, health benefits, consumer interest).
- Seventy-nine percent of food industry professionals strongly or somewhat agree that a benefit of using almonds is that they add more nutrients to a food product – which ABC sees as an important factor as ingredients are increasingly expected to “multi-task” and do more than just add flavor and texture.
GNPD Regional Highlights
A rise in new food products in Europe in 2008 fueled the global increase in almonds’ share of the confectionery category and drove growth for almond products in general. While fewer overall food products were introduced in the Asia-Pacific market in 2008, the confectionery category saw an increase in new products, contributing to a corresponding rise in the percentage of almond product introductions in that region. While almond product introductions in North America declined slightly from 2007 to 2008, the general upward trajectory of almond product introductions over the past five years remained evident.
GNPD Category Highlights
The majority of nut (73 percent) and almond (76 percent) introductions worldwide continued to be focused in confectionery, bakery and snacks. Out of all new almond products introduced, 37 percent were introduced in the confectionery category, 20 percent occurred in bakery and 19 percent were in snacking.
Almonds continue to be the number one or number two ingredient nut in new chocolate products in every region of the world. Overall, the confectionery category led new nut product launches across all regions in 2008, except North America where nut and almond introductions in the snacking category proved dominant. More than one third of almond products introduced in the confectionery category continued to occur in the European market. Since 2004, the entire confectionery category has shown an upward trend of nut- and almond-containing product introductions. Within the global confectionery category, 571 new almond products were introduced in 2008. Hazelnuts were next with 500 new product introductions and peanuts followed with 363.
Almond product introductions also remained strong in bakery, continuing their appearance as the number one or number two ingredient nut in new bakery products in every region of the world. While the overall category experienced a 6 percent decline, new almond product introductions slipped by only 2 percent.
Continuing a trend seen in 2007 GNPD data, almonds are one of the brighter spots in the otherwise weakening cereal category. Global introduction of new breakfast cereal products dropped 12 percent, but the nut segment of this category rose 7 percent and cereals containing almonds saw a 28 percent increase.
A movement in the GNPD data showed product launches in the snack category decreased by 11 percent in 2008.