Supermarket Perimeter - May 2020 - 85

R&D

CHERRY ADMINISTRATIVE ADVISORY BOARD, CALIFORNIA WALNUT BOARD , NUTELLA

Walnuts gain ground
Walnuts are making their way into
more products in more sections
of the supermarket, including
the fresh perimeter, said Jennifer
Olmstead, marketing director,
domestic public relations, for the
Folsom-based California Walnut
Board and Commission.
"They've always had a
significant presence in sweet
bakery foods, but now we're
seeing walnuts used in plantbased meat alternatives, nondairy milks and snack foods,"
she said.
Food and beverage
manufacturers are increasing
usage because they're seeing the
demand. In a 2019 study, 73% of
respondents said they "definitely/

probably would buy" a food
product containing walnuts.
Walnuts are most likely to
be eaten as a snack, according
to board research. With 95%
of Americans snacking daily,
and most of them looking for
snacks that are both healthy and
satisfying, snacking products
have been driving a lot of market
growth, Olmstead said, citing
Mintel data.
Trail mix and bars are two
consistently popular uses for
walnuts, but in the past year
the industry has seen more nut
butters, dairy alternatives and
snacking products like seasoned
walnuts, she added.
And because they pair well
with sweet and savory flavors,

walnuts can be added to
products satisfying any craving
or taste preference.
"Crazy Go Nuts, The Nutty
Gourmet and Diamond - just
launched - offer delightfully
seasoned walnut snacks in
flavors like chocolate espresso,
buffalo, rosemary and teriyaki
and wasabi," Olmstead said.
Beyond snacking, walnuts fit
into a variety of eating habits
that have become more popular
in recent years: plant-based/
flexitarian diets, paleo, ketogenic
and Mediterranean.
"They appeal to consumers
across various audience
segments," she said.
In addition to ongoing
research on health benefits
and consumer preferences, the
California Walnut Board and
Commission conducts a variety
of marketing activities to drive
demand, including advertising to
consumers through TV, print and
digital media, public relations to
share nutrition information and
recipe inspiration and instore
promotions during key times
of year such as American Heart
Month, Olmstead said.
"Our members are developing
new products and flavor offerings
based on learnings from our
consumer research and trend
monitoring," she said. "In addition
to new, bold flavors across the
snacking category, shoppers
are looking for better-for-you
indulgences. This includes the
variety of seasoned walnuts
mentioned above, as well as a
growing body of nut butters,
nut milks and even a walnutbased pie crust from Diamond."
The health message is a
critical one. Walnuts are the
only nut that is a significant
source of the essential omega-3
fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid.
Walnuts on their own and any
products containing walnuts

supermarketperimeter.com

SP_May20.indb 85

boast these unique naturally
occurring omega-3s, which have
been linked to heart health and
other health benefits.
In addition, because of the
protein/fiber/fat combination,
walnuts lend a texture that can
mimic the mouthfeel of meat,
which has made for a lot of
opportunity in the growing plantbased food category, Olmstead
said, citing the California Veggie
Burger from Amy's as a major
example.

Nutella, other products
and trends lead way
for hazelnut growth
Products featuring hazelnuts
have enjoyed big growth for
more than a decade, said Naomi
Inman, director of public relations
and communications for the
Hubbard, Ore.-based Northwest
Hazelnut Co., which, with its
sister company, George Packing
Company, make up the largest
processors and marketers of
hazelnuts in North America.
Most of Northwest's nuts end
up in the retail channel, Inman
said. Given the shift of food
purchases to that channel since
the coronavirus onset, the pace
of orders for some customers has
jumped as much as 400% since
February.

MAY 2020 - 85

5/5/2020 4:11:58 PM


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