Almonds Rank Number One in Global New Product Introductions

Elizabeth Green wrote . . . . . . . . .

As consumer preferences shift toward better-for-you, plant-based and natural ingredients, almonds offer product developers the freedom to explore and identify opportunities for innovation. That is according to Harbinder Maan, Associate Director Trade Marketing and Stewardship at Almond Board of California (ABC). Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Maan says: “Almonds are the current number one nut globally and have a powerful European story to tell.”

According to data from Innova Market Insights (Global New Product Introductions Report, May 2019), almonds experienced double-digit growth (13 percent) in 2019, with 12,206 new products with almonds introduced globally. For the first time in the report’s history, the Dairy category joined Confectionery, Snacks, Bakery and Bars as one of the top five categories for new product introductions with almonds, experiencing 19 percent growth compared to 2018. Dairy now holds an 8 percent share of total new almond product introductions. Almonds have been the number one nut for new product introductions since 2006.

“From a global perspective, we know that almonds are significant in a couple of categories such as snacks, confectionery and bakery, as well as dairy alternatives and bars. So in the US, especially, those are the key categories that we support from an ingredient standpoint and that we anticipate will grow,” Maan explains.

New and emerging categories

“When looking at specific categories on a global scale, Confectionery has seen the most growth, followed by Dairy, Bakery, Snacks and Bars,” notes Maan. “Those are the key categories that drive the greatest volume of almonds. There was a real effort against snacking several years ago, and snacking occasions is where we are driving our efforts in terms of messaging and research,” she explains.

Moreover, new almond product introductions across the Confectionery, Snacks, Bakery, Bars and Dairy categories account for 80 percent of global almond introductions. Still, almonds also experienced double-digit growth in notable emerging categories like Ice Cream and Desserts (17 percent) and Spreads (26 percent) (Innova Market Insights 2019 Global New Product Introductions Report, May 2019).

“This annual report captures the evolving work that goes into developing new products. It provides reassurance and validation behind using an ingredient like almonds and reinforces consumer demand,” says Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights. “If you’re making a shortlist of ingredients to include in product development and seeing these numbers, they should give you a lot of confidence. Almonds continue to show growth and expansion into new markets because they have undeniable consumer appeal and align with desirable health and texture claims.”

Europe shows positive growth

Kathryn Martino, Consultant to the Almond Board in Europe, says: “Almonds have maintained their top spot in Europe for the fifth year and have taken the number one spot in new product introductions. But what is even more interesting is that Europe is leading the way globally for new product introductions. So this year alone, Europe is responsible for around 44 percent of the global almond introductions.”

Martino also highlights a double-digit growth (12 percent) increase in products with almonds being introduced in Europe. “There is real confidence in Europe from manufacturers who continue to sell almonds as a safe bet. Europe has previously been a traditional ingredients market, and we are seeing growth again this year in those traditional categories like you would expect,” she continues. “Interestingly, for us this year, and for the first time, we see dairy enter the top five, so that is an area that has piqued our interest.”

Meanwhile, she flags some of the emerging categories that have provoked interest this year, including Spreads, Sports Nutrition, Soft Drinks, and Ice Creams and Desserts. “We are seeing significant growth and interest in these emerging categories and looking at the market by market basis. Germany, France and the UK are the leading markets for us, and Italy, which is an attractive market for us, has seen the biggest growth of 20 percent in almond introductions in the country last year.”

Martino adds that there has been “some activity in the market which we believe is helping drive this demand,” so ABC keeps an eye on Italy with interest to see what continues to come out of that market.

Another point of interest in almonds is some of the health claims that are being used on pack. “Globally, the new product report has shown that health claims were observed much more frequently on introductions with almonds compared to total food introductions and again in Europe that is outpacing the rest of the world, particularly the UK,” explains Martino. The top health claims that have been observed include vegan/vegetarian, high fiber, gluten-free, natural and organic.

“This year, the use of vegan claims across our European markets has been notable, supporting the data from Innova Market Insights,” she notes. “Manufacturers are catching sight of this and responding by putting certain labels on their products. Again it’s not surprising to me given that such a high percentage of the population in the UK identity as being flexitarian.”

Increasingly, fiber is playing a more significant role in the foods that many of us consume. “Fiber trends play into the increased focus on a ‘back to basics’ health approach that we see, which I imagine will become even more prevalent, given that we are living through COVID-19. It will be very interesting to see what next year’s data will show,” Martino asserts.

“It’s no surprise that almonds continue to be a popular ingredient due to their versatility and nutrition, but how manufacturers expand almond usage across categories is more impressive every year,” Maan concludes.

Source: Food Ingredients 1st

Stuffed Beef Roulades


1-1/2 oz ham
1-1/2 oz cucumber
1/2 oz carrots
1 oz onions
4 beef cutlets
3 tbsp oil
1 tbsp tomato paste
3/4 cup beef stock
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tbsp plain flour


  1. Chop the cucumber and carrot in sticks, dice the onions and cut the ham in cubes.
  2. Pound the beef into escalopes flat and evenly in thickness, and season with salt, pepper and mustard.
  3. Spread the vegetables and the ham on the beef. Roll up beef tightly into roulades and tie with string or fix with toothpicks.
  4. Place the roulade in a frying pan and cook quickly over medium heat, turning until well couloured.
  5. Add tomato paste and the stock. Simmer for 1 hour until the beef is tender.
  6. Remove the roulades from the pan to the serving platter. Keep warm.
  7. Add cream and flour to the sauce in the pan, bring to a boil on medium heat. Reduce heat and cook, until the sauce has reduced and thickened.
  8. When serving, remove the string or toothpicks, pour the sauce over the roulades. Serve with buttered dumplings, mashed potatoes and vegetables.

Makes 4 servings.

Source: Culinary Austria

In Pictures: Character Bento


Music Training May Not Make Children Smarter After All

Music training does not have a positive impact on children’s cognitive skills, such as memory, and academic achievement, such as maths, reading or writing, according to a study published in Memory & Cognition.

Previous research trials, carried out to examine a potential causal link between music training and improved cognitive and academic performance, have reached inconsistent conclusions, with some suggesting that there may be a link between music training and better cognitive and academic performance and others finding little effect.

Researchers Giovanni Sala at Fujita Health University, Japan and Fernand Gobet at the London School of Economics and Political Science, UK examined existing experimental evidence regarding the impact of music training on children’s non-music cognitive skills and academic achievement.

The authors re-analyzed data from 54 previous studies conducted between 1986 and 2019, including a total of 6,984 children. They found that music training appeared to be ineffective at enhancing cognitive or academic skills, regardless of the type of skill (such as verbal, non-verbal, speed-related and so on), participants’ age, and duration of music training.

When comparing between the individual studies included in their meta-analysis, the authors found that studies with high-quality study design, such as those which used a group of active controls – children who did not learn music, but instead learned a different skill, such as dance or sports – showed no effect of music education on cognitive or academic performance. Small effects were found in studies that did not include controls or which did not randomize participants into control groups (ones that received different or no training) and intervention groups (ones that received music training).

Giovanni Sala, the lead author said: “Our study shows that the common idea that ‘music makes children smarter’ is incorrect. On the practical side, this means that teaching music with the sole intent of enhancing a child’s cognitive or academic skills may be pointless. While the brain can be trained in such a way that if you play music, you get better at music, these benefits do not generalize in such a way that if you learn music, you also get better at maths. Researchers’ optimism about the benefits of music training appears to be unjustified and may stem from misinterpretation of previous empirical data.”

Fernand Gobet, the corresponding author added: “Music training may nonetheless be beneficial for children, for example by improving social skills or self-esteem. Certain elements of music instruction, such as arithmetical music notation could be used to facilitate learning in other disciplines.”

The authors caution that too few studies have been conducted to reach a definitive conclusion about possible positive effects of music education on non-academic or cognitive characteristics. Alternative potential avenues involving music activities may be worth exploring.

Source: Springer

More Americans Turning to Artificial Sweeteners, But Is That a Healthy Move?

Serena Gordon wrote . . . . . . . . .

Americans may be heeding expert advice to reduce sugar intake. But instead of giving up sweets altogether, they’re turning to certain sugar substitutes.

A new study found that between 2002 and 2018, purchases of packaged food products containing sucralose (Splenda) jumped from 39% to 71%. Purchases of products containing a newer type of sweetener — rebaudioside A (Stevia, Truvia) — rose from 0.1% in 2002 to 26% in 2018.

Not all sugar substitutes saw increased use, however. In 2002, 60% of households chose products containing Aspartame (Equal) compared to 49% by 2018. Use of the sweetener saccharin (Sweet’N Low) also declined.

“Some of the messaging from public health folks, doctors and other health care professionals about the need to limit the consumption of sugar and the deleterious effects of sugar may be getting through,” said study co-author Shu Wen Ng. She’s an associate professor of nutrition at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

But the science isn’t clear on whether sugar substitutes are a healthful choice. There are a number of different choices, and Ng noted each one causes different impacts in the body.

“The message needs to evolve from reducing sugar to reducing sweetness exposure,” she said. “Sugar and other foods that may be sweet may be reinforcing a sweetness preference, especially when you’re young and still developing your sweetness preferences.”

Nutritionist Samantha Heller, from NYU Langone Health in New York City, explained that when people get used to eating sweet, processed foods, natural ones — like a ripe summer peach — might not taste sweet enough anymore.

“Studies haven’t provided concrete answers yet about the safety of sugar substitutes, or whether they help with weight loss or increase food and sweet cravings,” she said. “Since there are so many questions still, and we haven’t yet been able to find the answers, I generally tell patients to avoid them, although there are some instances where they can be helpful.”

The Calorie Control Council, an industry group, issued a statement in response to the findings.

It said low- and no-calorie sweeteners “are safe and among the most studied ingredients in the world.” Those in the marketplace today are considered safe by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory authorities around the world, the statement said.

The group’s medical advisor, Dr. Keri Peterson, added that reducing added sugars is an important message to relay to patients.

“Low-calorie sweeteners can serve an important role in diabetes management,” Peterson said. “Substituting sugars with low-calorie sweeteners gives diabetics more flexibility in their diets, allowing them to enjoy sweet foods without affecting blood sugar.”

The new study reviewed annual survey data on household food purchases. The 2002 survey included data from almost 40,000 U.S. households; the 2018 data included more than 61,000.

The study found a slight decline in the number of households purchasing products with a caloric sweetener (like sugar, corn syrup or honey). The biggest reduction was in purchase of sweetened beverages.

Compared to Hispanic and Black people, white people bought almost twice the number of products containing sugar substitutes. Black people purchased 42% more beverages with caloric sweeteners or sugar substitutes between 2002 and 2018, the study found.

Both Ng and Heller said it isn’t always obvious that products contain sugar substitutes.

“People trying to reduce their sugar intake may be drawn to products labeled as ‘sugar-free, low calorie or natural,’ not realizing that these products contain non-nutritive sweeteners,” Ng said.

She recommended that people strive to be aware of what they’re eating or drinking, and aim to reduce sweetness overall — both from sugar and sugar substitutes. Ng also suggested consumers push manufacturers for clearer labeling.

“Consumers should be informed and aware,” Ng said. “Products should say on the front whether they contain a non-nutritive sweetener or an actual sweetener.”

The findings were published online in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Source: HealthDay

Today’s Comic