Going nuts for almonds
Why do consumers love almonds?Almonds are popping up everywhere: there are beauty-boosting energy balls, luxurious Japanese brownie bars and even DIY almond milking bags. The market is currently offering everything almond you can possibly think of. Almonds are also top of the list in the food sector – and deservedly so, in our opinion.
In the past two years, the terms „sustainability“, „ethics“ and „healthy living“ within an umbrella concept of „clean eating“ have been pushed continuously by lifestyle gurus, food bloggers and Instagram influencers, reaching a predominantly young audience. This trend has inspired people to consume natural, non-processed foods like fruit and vegetables, wholegrain products, protein and lots of water. Almonds fit perfectly into this shift towards a more health-conscious diet.
Additionally, not many foods surpass the almond’s capacity for variety as well as its tendency to carry and enhance other flavors from honey to lemon, ginger and even jalapeño and wasabi. Almonds were used in a quarter of all snack products launched around the globe in 2016. In Europe, they were the number 1 nut variety in new product launches, with a 48% regional share. (Source: Innova Market Insights)
Almond-based dairy alternatives are also projected to experience the fastest growth, at an anticipated rate of 13,3%.
Almond products: the pioneers on the dairy alternative frontVarying trends in the health and nutrition sector have led to more and more consumers choosing almond-containing dairy alternatives. The main reasons for this are a growing interest in botanicals as well as a desire to try new things and consume fewer animal products in general.
Almond products are very low on calories and carbohydrates compared to milk. Within the plant-based yogurt sector, almond is one of the most ubiquitous bases used by manufacturers - a huge asset to almond-based milk products being the flavor component.
Consumers state that trying out new flavors is one of the main factors when choosing yogurt products. This gives AGRANA Fruit and our clients room to develop new concepts showcasing unique flavor combinations and textures which will subsequently appeal to consumers with a more curious palate.
Almonds – the quick-change artistsAlmonds can be used in many ways, and the always creative vegan and dairy alternatives community has found ever new ways to transform this simple nut:
Almond meal or almond flour is a gluten-free and low-carb flour made from the so-called press cake, the solid remains of edible oil production. It is often used in low-carb recipes and as a substitute for wheat flour.
Almond milk is made from ground, sweet almonds mixed with water and sugar, honey or agave syrup. It tastes nutty – the intensity differing according to brand and its flavor determined by the roast.
Almond butter can be made from raw or roasted almonds. The fat in the butter consists of mainly beneficial monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. Almond butter contains magnesium, calcium, manganese and vitamin E.
Almond extract is definitely not an „everyday flavor“, but some adventurous consumers use it for oriental rice dishes as well as to enhance more earthy dishes like baked apples, oatmeal and French toast.
Almond milk yogurt
It’s tasty, has a very pleasant texture and is low on calories: yogurt made from almond milk. It is best enjoyed mixed with fruit.
What’s the story?Almond trees have been cultivated for around 4000 years and can grow to between 3 and 8 meters. They like the Mediterranean climate with its long, warm, dry summers and short, mild and wet winters with only the briefest
periods of frost.
Nowadays, almond trees are grown mainly in the US (in California), in the Mediterranean regions as well as Pakistan and Iran. The main varieties are the sweet and the bitter almond, both featuring a hard hull and a rough, rustic-aromatic shell. Sweet almonds have a soft, porous shell and a sweet seed. These are popular snacks due to their easy to crack shell and sweet taste. Around the Mediterranean, even the unripe, green almond drupes are eaten, either with their hull, raw or cooked like a vegetable.
Chef’s Table NewsThe use of almonds is proving to be very popular among chefs all over the world. Almonds form the basis for marzipan, macarons, nougat, cookies and croissants, but are also used in savory foods.
- Almond milk is loved for its creamy texture, nutty taste and low calories.
- The consumption of almonds, in particular almond milk, yogurt, flour and butter will rise due to a considerable increase in popularity and this will present the food industry with a variety of opportunities.
- A range of food intolerances and lifestyle modifications will continuously drive consumers to seek out healthy, functional food alternatives.