For the first time, dairy joined confectionery, snacks, bakery and bars as one of the top five categories for new product introductions with almonds, experiencing 19% growth in new product introductions vs the previous year (934 new products), said Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights (get more details HERE).
Harbinder Maan, associate director of trade marketing and stewardship at the Almond Board of California, told FoodNavigator-USA: “Nielsen sales data tells us that almondmilk is the #1 category [from a sales perspective] after snack nuts in terms of how almonds are consumed in the US.
"Almondmilk is still growing, but we’re also seeing more blends of almonds and oats for example, as well as things like almond butter in [dairy] yogurts [for example Chobani’s Greek yogurts with almond butter].”
According to Innova Market Insights, the bar category is the biggest category for almond introductions in North America accounting for 24% of new launches featuring almonds in 2019, followed by snacks (17%), confectionery (14%), bakery (10%), dairy (9%) and cereals (8%).
According to the USDA, California's 2020 almond production is forecast at 3bn meat pounds, 18% higher than last year's crop: “Coupled with a large increase in bearing acreage, the 2020 crop is estimated to be the largest on record. The average nut set per tree is 5,645, which is an increase of 21% compared to 2019.”
It added: “February was very dry throughout most of California, which provided excellent bloom conditions and plenty of opportunity for pollination. There was little concern for frost damage this year.”
As for COVID-19 – there was some disruption earlier this year when ports shut down in India – a key export market for California almonds, but “right now we’re looking at very positive shipments in all of our markets including the US,” said Maan.
Further reading: IN PICTURES: New directions for almonds