In a global food market that declined by six percent over the past year, almond sales have remained stable, accounting for 29 percent of all new product launches in 2008 – 160 more than its nearest nut rival, the peanut.
Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA.com at the IFT trade show in Anaheim, director of North American marketing and global strategic initiatives for the Almond Board of California Stacey Humble said: “Although peanuts are definitely number one in America, almonds appeal to global palates.”
The almond industry body said that more than half of all Californian almonds are sold to manufacturers, and exports have been increasing to record levels, with total worldwide shipments up 18 percent in 2007/08 compared to the previous year – or over 570,000 metric tonnes.
The nuts have also benefited from research into their health benefits – including their high levels of antioxidants, said to benefit heart health – and increased marketing focus on their nutritional value.
The Almond Board cites an attitude and usage survey from the Sterling-Rice Group, showing that 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.
These views are echoed in a new Rabobank podcast on the expanding almond market. Rabobank Food & Agribusiness Research and Advisory vice president Marieke de Rijke said: “Exports have grown significantly in recent years. We have seen a huge increase in demand due to the efforts of marketing organizations. They have focused on promoting the health benefits of almonds, and have communicated this all over the world. So, not only in the US, but in many foreign countries demand for almonds has grown.”
Shirley Horn, chief marketing officer for the Almond Board of California added: “Versatility as an ingredient, widely appreciated taste and overall consumer appeal helped almonds retain their share of usage in new products despite the economic volatility in the world’s major markets.”