Sometimes you feel like a nut: almonds in the mood food movement

By Asia Sherman

- Last updated on GMT

Source: Getty/ 4kodiak
Source: Getty/ 4kodiak

Related tags: Almonds, Nuts, Snacks, mood support

Mental functions are a key driver of innovation for products with almond ingredients, says a recent report from the Almond Board of California.

Noting that global food and beverage launches with mood-related claims and almond ingredients grew at a CAGR of 45%, “The Mood Food Movement: Meeting Consumer Motivations” report makes the case for almonds as a nutrient-rich functional food that can “ease product development by offering unparalleled taste, texture and ingredient versality”.

“Whether changes in mental health are caused by a pandemic, climate change, work life, home life or health, consumers will continue to turn to food and beverages containing almonds to improve their mood and feelings of wellbeing,”​ the report states.

A good for mood food

Almond Joy candy bars famously poked fun at being off-center with the quirky “sometimes you feel like a nut, sometimes you don’t”​ jingle that hit airways in 1970. Today, brands are responding to increased consumer demand for products that make them feel more centered with brain and mood boosting effects.

“It’s no surprise that we’ve seen almonds appear in products with sleep, energy and focus claims as almonds are a good source of magnesium, a nutrient that research suggests may help with brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety,”​ Charice Grace, Trade Marketing and Stewardship Manager at the Almond Board, tells FoodNavigator-USA.

As example, the report points to better-for-you snack company Mother Earth that launched its new Wellbeing Bars last October. The range includes a chocolate brownie-flavored Bliss Bar made with almonds, advertised as “a natural source of magnesium to support overall wellbeing, including normal psychological function.”

A go-to partner for formulation

Snacking almonds continue to be the largest driver for almond sales, but the Almond Board cites Innova Market Insights data that shows that launches of new products made with almonds have increased across confectionery, snacks, bakery, bars and cereal categories.

“With over 14 versatile forms including almond butter, almond milk, defatted almond flour and more, almonds can also be a go-to partner for formulating with other ingredients,”​ the report notes.

Grace adds that the neutral taste of almonds pairs well with other mood-associated foods and flavors like herbs and botanicals, mushrooms, chocolate and fermented foods.

Functional snack maker Smpl, for example, recently relaunched with snack bars made with adaptogens, nootropics and botanicals designed to boost energy, improve focus, reduce stress and support the immune system. Almonds are a key ingredient in all the bars but contribute to “improved productivity”​ claims in the Focus Bar and are combined with other functional ingredients in the Calm Bar to “reduce stress and improve mood.”

“Almonds are a holistically feel-good food from a nutrition, sensory and sustainability standpoint,” ​Grace says, noting that the nut sits at the forefront of many converging trends.

“By funding novel nutrition research and advancing the almond community’s sustainability journey, the industry is meeting consumers’ ‘mood food’ motivations from multiple angles.”

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