Flavor innovation going nuts

by Beth Day
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Planters dessert peanut mixes, Kraft-Heinz
Kraft Heinz’s popular Planters brand embraced dessert-inspired flavors to excite consumers with its new nut mixes.

KANSAS CITY — Nuts and seeds resonate well with health-conscious consumers because they are plant-based and rich in protein and healthy nutrients. The nuts and seeds categories earned an impressive $4.2 billion in dollar sales, according to Information Resources, Inc. for the 52 weeks ended Feb. 21.

Sales of nuts and seeds are fueled by some of the same trends affecting the potato chip category, including spicy flavors like sriracha, as well as sweeter dessert varieties such as salted caramel and maple bacon, according to Canadean’s Product Launch Analytics database of new products.

Kraft Heinz’s popular Planters brand embraced the dessert-inspired flavors to excite consumers. The Chicago-based company recently released its new Banana Sundae Nut Mix with honey roasted peanuts, chocolate candy-covered peanuts, banana chips, and vanilla and strawberry flavored yogurt candy covered peanuts. Other flavors include Turtle Sundae and Oatmeal Raisin Cookie. Planters also introduced Salted Caramel Peanuts appealing to those who crave the consistently popular salty and sweet combination.

Blue Diamond Cafe Mocha nuts, Bold Sriracha nuts
Blue Diamond recently launched Bold Sriracha Almonds and Café Mocha Oven Roasted Coffee Almonds.

Blue Diamond, Sacramento, Calif., set tongues on fire with the launch of its Bold Sriracha Almonds. It meets consumer demand for bold and spicy flavors, and the almonds deliver on the healthier snacking option. Blue Diamond catered to coffee lovers with its Oven Roasted Coffee Almonds, which comes in a Café Mocha flavor.

Planters garnered more than $1 billion in dollar sales with 7% growth from a year ago, according to the I.R.I. data. Blue Diamond enjoyed 9.8% growth in sales for its products.

Consumers, especially millennials, want to know where their food comes from and how it is made. In addition, protecting the environment and engaging in sustainable food production is a popular trend as well.

Whole Foods 365 almonds
Whole Foods' Honey Roasted 365 Everyday Value Pollinator Friendly Almonds underscore the importance being placed on preserving nature when choosing how to source ingredients.

Honey Roasted 365 Everyday Value Pollinator Friendly Almonds underscore the importance being placed on preserving nature when choosing how to source ingredients. Whole Foods Market distributes the “low sodium” almonds in 12-oz plastic pouches for $6.99.

“This product was quite unique as we are just starting to see companies introduce so-called ‘pollinator-friendly’ products, primarily in categories where bees and other pollinators are critical for the finished product,” said Tom Vierhile, innovation insights director, Canadean Progressive Digital Media Group. “The idea is to provide better habitat for pollinators to help fight issues like colony collapse.”

Sensory fusion and experimentation continue to be driving factors behind new flavor launches in the snacking category, as consumers like fun flavor mash-ups and are open to new food adventures, according to Canadean. The Trophy Nut Co., Tipp City, Ohio, has introduced two flavors for its Trophy Nut Flavor Adventure Cashews, including maple bacon and cracked pepper and sea salt. The convenient 1.5-oz plastic pouches additionally offer an on-the-go option for busy consumers.

David Seeds Jalapeno Salsa and Chili Lime
David delivers on hot and spicy trends with jalapeño hot salsa and chili lime flavored jumbo sunflower seeds.

Sunflower and pumpkin seeds also carry a health halo delivering plant-based protein, vitamins and minerals, and they are a low cholesterol, heart-healthy snacking option. Sunflower/Pumpkin seed brands posted $242 million in dollar sales with 6.2% growth in the category, according to the I.R.I. data. David Sunflower/Pumpkin seeds, owned by Omaha-based ConAgra Foods, Inc., earned more than $65 million in dollar sales from a year ago.

David delivers on hot and spicy trends with jalapeño hot salsa and chili lime flavored jumbo sunflower seeds. David also offers Simply Seeds with no artificial flavors or preservatives that are jumbo-sized with simple ingredients and flavors like black pepper and sour cream and onion. Other products include David Pumpkin Seeds in original and ranch flavors and David Trail Mixes that come in three different flavors.  
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