Senior Product Development Manager Jennifer Eastman explains:
- How to maximize consumer appeal for confectionery products
- Where almonds can add value in confectionery applications
- Trending flavor and ingredient pairings
Almonds are well-established as a premium inclusion for confectionery products, finding popularity in sweet treats around the world. In addition to versatile flavor and crunchy texture, almonds also come in a wide variety of forms, creating endless possibilities for innovation.
We talked with Senior Product Development Manager Jennifer Eastman about how to maximize consumer appeal for almond-focused confectionery products, from ideal almond sizes and forms to trending flavor pairings.
1. What benefits do almonds bring to confectionery formulations?
Today’s consumers show a growing preference for indulgences that offer some degree of balanced nutrition, as well as cleaner ingredients. With 13 grams of “good” unsaturated fats and only 1 gram of saturated fat per ounce, almond inclusions can help candy and bar manufacturers tap into consumers’ desire for more “permissible” indulgences that offer satisfying texture and flavor along with nutritional benefits. Almonds are also immediately recognizable on the label, supporting clean-label formulations.
2. What types of almonds are best suited for confectionery applications?
Dry roasted almonds are ideal for confectionery applications. They offer a more complex flavor profile than unroasted almonds and have an extra crunchy texture, which is an attribute that many consumers desire in confectionery products.
There are also a variety of forms to choose from, including sliced, diced, slivered and whole almonds. Smaller almond dices or slivers may be better suited as a topping or coating for small, bite-size products, such as truffles. Whole almonds are often used for enrobing or as a crunchy inclusion for chocolate bars. Sliced almonds have a slightly softer texture and can also work well as an inclusion in bars. Almonds are relatively easy to incorporate as an inclusion or topping in existing confectionery recipes with small formula adjustments. It is always recommended to start with a small batch and conduct a pilot run prior to full scale production.
Almonds are relatively easy to incorporate as an inclusion or topping in existing confectionery recipes with small formula adjustments. It is always recommended to start with a small batch and conduct a pilot run prior to full scale production.
3. What are you observing in new flavor and ingredient trends?
The juxtaposition of sweet and savory ingredients continues to be a popular trend, as consumers seek new and original flavor experiences. Popular dry roasted almond flavors for confectionery products include honey, maple and vanilla. Texture has also been shown to play an important role in consumers’ shopping decisions, with “crunchy” claims growing fastest in new chocolate launches worldwide.1
Bars, nougats, brittles, dipped, formed or enrobed candies and anything chocolate have historically been made more delicious by incorporating almonds in any form. Our R&D team at the Almond Innovation Center works closely with manufacturers to help them create confectionery products that appeal to consumers’ increasingly sophisticated palates.
Check out these ideas for innovating with almonds in confectionery.
1. “Crunch On This: California Almonds Turn Chocolate Into A Snacking Standout.” Almond Board of California. 2018.
Article originally published May 10.
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