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Nuts about nuts

Nuts account for a rising share of new product launches in the ever-evolving global snacks category, new research suggests.

According to Innova Market Insights, snack nuts and seeds, such as trail mixes, accounted for over 30% of snack launches in 2016, up from 26.5% five years previously.

Factors driving that growth include new research on nuts’ health attributes, greater availability of various nut types, and technological advances allowing for new coatings, flavours and packaging formats, the Almond Board of California says. And when it comes to snack nuts, almonds fit well with new consumer eating habits, changing tastes and various trends, it argues.

Nearly one quarter of global snack nut products launched in 2016 featured almonds as an ingredient and they were the number one nut in new product introductions in Europe with a 48% regional share.

The range of snacks featuring almonds continues to widen beyond traditional raw or salted nuts to include smoked and caramelised variants. Today, even Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper, Mint Mocha and seasonal variants such as Pumpkin Pie are hitting the mark with consumers.

Some 40% of global snack nut and seed launches (more than 60% in the US) recorded by Innova Market Insights use a health claim of some kind, including gluten-free, clean label and free from. Gluten-free accounted for 12% of launches, many of which included almonds as an ingredient.

Meanwhile, although vegan-friendly labelling has risen over recent years, many products using almonds have always been naturally vegan. Just over 6% of global snack nut and seed launches used vegan positioning in 2016, rising to 12% in western Europe and to 19% in the UK.

Importantly, the packaging of snack nuts is becoming more sophisticated to target new consumers and occasions, offer recyclability, portability and improved ease of use. Although traditional packets and snack bags still dominate shelves, more premium-style stand up pouches now add value for the working consumer.

Shareable tubs and cans with resealable lids are also increasingly common, and the contrasting single serve sachets with calorie counted options mean there’s a package for every type of occasion.

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