Introductions of products containing almonds increased 30 percent last year and chocolate confectionery was the leading category for global new product launches, according to the research, which was presented by the Almond Board of California (ABC). In its own consumer survey, the Almond Board found that 70 percent of Americans indicated a preference for chocolate that contains almonds compared to chocolate without almonds.
Technical advisor at Barry Callebaut USA’s Chocolate Academy Richard Cusick said: “The almond-chocolate combination is a home run for consumers looking for ‘better for you’ indulgence. Almonds are the heart of many classic products such as the French macaron, but can also be used to enhance the texture, flavor and visual appeal of almost any sweet application.”
In North America however, snacking is the top category for almond-containing product introductions, ABC said. According to research carried out on behalf of the Almond Board by Sterling-Rice Group, reasons cited by consumers for choosing almond snack products included “combine great taste and nutrition,” “are easy to eat on the go” and “are something I won’t regret.”
Research chef consultant at Schweizer Culinary Greg Schweizer said: “The almond is an excellent ingredient for any kitchen or lab because it can be used in so many ways to yield so many products. Almonds are very approachable for consumers, easy to work with and create great flavor.”
According to the US Department of Agriculture, the 2011 Californian almond crop is forecast to hit a record 1.95bn pounds – 19 percent up on last year’s crop.