Innovative almonds and chocolate products are offering indulgence and relaxation as well as desirable nutrition and mood benefits for holistic wellness— giving consumers more of what they want, without compromises.
Global chocolate reports from Innova Market Insights and the Almond Board of California indicate the confectionery landscape is shifting in step with evolving consumer preferences. Opportunities abound for manufacturers who offer nutritious, novel, and feel-good chocolate.
Providing Plant-Based Indulgence
Plant-based claims grew among total food introductions in 2020 (+47 percent), and the plant-based trend has been making waves in the chocolate category, where plant-based claims saw 18 percent average annual growth from 2016 to 2020. Almonds were the number one nut for plant-based claims in 2020 due to their variety of available forms. From whole or chopped almonds to almond butter or milk, almonds’ over 14 versatile forms allow them to star in chocolate as an inclusion, filler, drizzle, or base.
Recently, vegan product launches have used almond paste bring creaminess and smoothness to plant-based chocolates. Bounty’s Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Bar beckons consumers to “indulge with the delicious combination of rich cocoa and diced coconut, blended with smooth and creamy almond paste.”
Accompanying Lifestyle Needs
According to Innova Market Insights, 64 percent of surveyed global consumers responded that they have found more ways to tailor their life and the products they buy to their individual style, beliefs and needs. Chocolate confectionery launches saw double and triple-digit growth in products with keto (+222 percent) and high/source of protein claims (+32 percent) between 2017 and 2020.1
Along with being naturally gluten and lactose-free, almonds fit into multiple diets and lifestyles from the popular Mediterranean Diet to others like the keto, paleo, and Whole30® diets. Depending on the overall product formulation and nutritional values, product developers can also consider claims like good source of fiber, no added sugar, good source of niacin, high riboflavin, high in antioxidant vitamin E, good source of magnesium, high manganese, and naturally sodium free.
Holistic Health and Mood Food
With added daily stressors and busy lifestyles, consumers also report taking action to improve their health and wellbeing, focusing on physical wellbeing, mental and emotional wellbeing, and spiritual time. Product launches tracked by Innova Market Insights show almonds being used across trending benefits like sleep, energy and mood.1 For consumers seeking an easy, natural approach to nutrition and well-being, almonds are an ideal ingredient due to their healthy nutrient package including 4 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein for satiety and sustained energy, essential fatty acids, polyphenols, magnesium, and antioxidant vitamin E. One serving of almonds has 13 grams of unsaturated fat and only 1 gram of saturated fat.
Permissible Indulgence: Balancing Nutrition with Taste
However, through growing interest in holistic wellness, taste and texture will still play a crucial role in motivating purchases, increasing chocolate’s indulgence and providing consumers with novel experiences. Access a new Almond Board of California infographic to discover global examples of innovative new products that are answering today’s consumer cravings.
 Innova Market Insights. July 2021 Global Chocolate Report.
 Innova Market Insights. Global New Product Introductions Report 2020. May 2021.
Read more of the latest industry news and developments here: April 2022 Single Issue form – International Confectionery Magazine (in-confectionery.com)