If you asked most people where nuts belonged on a food pyramid 20 years ago, they would probably say in the candy (eat occasionally) section. Today nuts are widely regarded as nutritional dynamite, which could explain why 60% of nut-related snack launches in the US were on a ‘health’ platform of some kind in 2013.
According to new data from Innova Market Insights, nuts and seeds featured in 37% of global snack food launches in 2013, up from 32% five years ago, with nuts featuring in 40% of new snacks in Western Europe and 32% in the US.
Meanwhile, a third of new snack foods containing nuts were positioned on a health platform of some kind (organic/natural/additive- or preservative-free/high fiber, high protein, low sodium), rising to over 60% in the US, said director of innovation Lu Ann Williams.
“The packaged snack nuts market has seen mixed fortunes in recent years. With some difficult times in the market for standard salted peanuts and other commodity-style lines, but rising interest in value-added products, such as natural, flavored and premium lines, and branding.
“Exotic nuts, such as Brazils, macadamias, pistachios and pecans, are increasingly being used to add value and interest in the market, while nut mixes have moved into whole new areas in terms of ingredients and away from their traditional reliance on seasonal sales.”
She added: “Technological improvements have allowed the development of much more complex and sophisticated flavors and coatings and a range of more user-friendly packaging formats, including re-sealable cardboard cans, plastic and aluminum pouches and, plastic jars, as well as the more traditional flow-wrapped bags.”