Almonds’ continued relevance to new and evolving consumer trends fuels growth and innovation in Europe
According to data from Innova Market Insights’ Global New Product Introductions report, almonds maintained their top spot in Europe as the number one nut in new product introductions for the fifth consecutive year in 2019. Almonds represent over 40% of all nut introductions in the region and experienced double-digit growth in new product development (+12 percent) over the last year. A total of 5,416 new products containing almonds were introduced across Europe in 2019 compared to 4,837 in 2018.
Europe was the second fastest growing region for almond new product development after Asia-Pacific and was also the leading region for almond introductions for the ninth consecutive year. In 2019, the region led the way with 44 percent of global almond introductions. Almost 90% of these introductions were in the confectionery, snacks, bakery, bars, dairy and cereal categories. The surprise this year was that for the first time in the report’s history, dairy appeared in the top five categories for new product introductions with almonds, with 334 introductions in 2019 compared to 214 in 2018. Dairy now holds a 7 percent share of total new almond product introductions in Europe.
The report shows that Germany, France, and the UK were the leading European markets, making up more than 2,000 almond introductions in 2019, and are in the top five countries globally, alongside the United States and India. The UK, France, and Germany all experienced growth on the previous year and Italy was the EU market that saw the most significant growth, with a 20% increase in almond introductions compared to 2018. Emerging categories that experienced growth across one or more of the European markets include spreads, sports nutrition, desserts and ice-cream and soft drinks.
“This annual report captures the evolving work that goes into developing new products. It provides reassurance and validation behind using an ingredient like almonds, and reinforces consumer demand,” says Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “If you’re making a shortlist of ingredients to include in product development and you see these numbers, they should give you a lot of confidence. Almonds continue to show growth and expansion into new markets because they have undeniable consumer appeal and align with desirable health and texture claims.”
The report also revealed that health claims were observed more frequently on introductions with almonds compared to total food introductions. This was true in the UK particularly, with nine of the top ten health claims appearing more frequently in almond introductions compared to the global average. “Vegetarian” was the top health claim in the UK, appearing on 45 percent of almond introductions. This was followed by “vegan” (34 percent),” gluten-free” (34 percent) and “high fibre” (27 percent). “Gluten free” and “organic” featured in the top three health claims on products with almonds in France, Italy and Germany and “vegan” labelling also featured prominently on almond products in Germany and France.
“The many forms and formats of almonds makes them appealing to manufacturers across a wide range of categories. It’s no surprise that almonds continue to be a popular ingredient due to their versatility and nutrition, but the ways in which manufacturers expand almond usage across categories is more impressive every year,” says Dariela Roffe-Rackind, Director, Europe and Global Public Relations at the Almond Board of California. “As consumer needs and preferences shift toward better-for-you, plant-based and natural ingredients, almonds simply offer product developers freedom to continually explore and identify opportunities for innovation.”