Walnut Community

In the nut world, walnuts have a unique ability to pair with a variety of flavors, from savory to salty to sweet to spicy. How? Walnuts possess a subtle nuttiness that makes sweet foods more savory and savory foods more sweet. This versatility gives walnuts a competitive advantage in new product development. Check out the trends in each of the four core taste sensations and how walnuts can be used to create new products that consumers crave.

Salty Snack Trends

There’s no doubt about it, Americans crave salt. It is a staple in our diets, so common that salt shakers can be found on almost every kitchen table. It’s no surprise then that salty snacks are set for a strong 2020, according to CStore Decisions. Daniel Granderson, communications manager of Packaged Facts, told CStore Decisions that U.S. demand for salty snacks at the manufacturer level is forecasted to reach $28.3 billion by 2022.

More than 60% of consumers who choose snacks, a Mintel report says, do so to satisfy a craving, and over half of those snackers prefer salty snacks over other types. However, consumers don’t want just salt; they also are looking for nutritionally balanced snacks. About two-thirds of adults see snacking as a way to help “improve their quality of life,” according to Mondelēz’s State of Snacking: 2019 Global Consumer Snacking Trends Study. The majority also say snacks are just as important to their mental (71%) and emotional (70%) well-being as their physical well-being.

Walnuts are the perfect vehicle for snacking when consumers want saltiness plus nutritious properties such as protein, plant-based ALA omega-3 fatty acid and heart health benefits. Walnuts as a snack also satisfies increasing demands for convenient, on-the-go options, including these two products:

Sea Salt All-Natural Gourmet Walnuts, Crazy Go Nuts

Packaged in a convenient container, these walnuts are coated with real sea salt. They are gluten-free and non-GMO, and contain 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving. They’re the perfect grab-and-go cravings buster!

Nut.rition Energy Mix, Planters

Walnuts are combined with honey roasted sesame sticks, salt and more to provide snackers with the ultimate energy mix, providing 5 grams of protein per serving. This cholesterol-free offering comes in a variety of container sizes, ranging from 1.5 oz. to 27.75 oz.


Savory Food Trends

The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, as the saying goes, and comfort is a huge ask for consumers in 2020. Food manufacturer Kalsec reports that “consumers are looking for products that offer satiety and fullness, which is often associated with full, savory foods.”

As a center-of-the-plate ingredient, walnuts pair well with savory foods and help mimic the texture of meats in products such as plant-based hamburger patties and frozen Italian entrees. Plus, walnuts can impart nutritious properties such as omega-3 fatty acids on plant-based meals. Walnuts are the only nut that is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid, with 2.5 grams per oz. Here are some of our favorite savory meals with walnuts:

Walnut Ravioli, Eat Nice Foods

Eat Nice Foods’ plant-based Meaty Walnut Ravioli uses walnuts and sun-dried tomatoes for a savory bite. Vegan Essentials called this product luxurious and decadent, and said it will “rock your world, especially in a creamy or cheezy-style sauce.” Each 9 oz. bag of frozen ravioli is ready in only 7-10 minutes.

California Veggie Burger, Amy’s Kitchen

In 1989, Amy’s began the search for the “perfect” veggie burger. They’ve found their winning combination using walnuts as a plant-based protein to deliver savory flavor and meat-like texture. The plant-based patties are dairy- and soy-free, and include toasted walnuts mixed with mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, oats, garlic and potatoes. One patty contains 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of dietary fiber.

Sweet Food Trends

Walnuts and sweet goods have a long history and represent the perfect marriage of flavors. Banana walnut bread, walnut chocolate chip cookies and walnut brownies have been luring taste buds for countless years. However, consumers want more than just indulgence from their sweet snacks and baked goods. They want their sweet tooth cravings to improve their mood and energy levels. And they are looking beyond sweet baked goods to accomplish this, and into categories such as snacks and confections.

Candy Industry reports that “mood food,” especially in sweets, helps consumers relax and feel more energized throughout the day, and sweeter, indulgent foods deliver comfort during stressful times. And to aid in that relaxation is “permissible indulgence,” a quality that Mondelēz’s State of Snacking: 2019 Global Consumer Snacking Trends Study showed consumers are seeking. “That includes both their desire to pursue a healthy diet and their need to satisfy their emotional well-being, which can include small indulgences such as sweet snacks.”

Walnuts are a unique ingredient that consumers crave for both their nutritious properties and flavor. In fact, in a 2019 survey, 90% of consumers recognized walnuts as a healthy food. In the same study, 78% of respondents said they like the taste of walnuts. Food manufacturers, like the two below, formulate products with walnuts to deliver comfort and nutrition without sacrificing taste.

Maple Glaze Candied Walnuts, Fearless Keto

Sweeten your day with a little less guilt by noshing on Fearless Keto’s Candied Walnuts Maple Glaze variety. With only 2 grams of net carbs, each serving contains 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber. Eat them as a stand-alone snack, as a candied ice cream topper or even as a tasty salad ingredient.

Reishi Walnut Chocolate Bar, Vosges

Woody, mystical reishi mushrooms are packed with roasted walnuts and smoothed with 72% cacao dark chocolate, completing a unique chocolate bar from Vosges. Each serving contains 3 grams of dietary fiber and 2 grams of protein.

Spicy Snack Trends

Food Ingredients First reports that international cuisines and warming spices are trending, especially with consumers looking for regional herbs and spices. In fact, Mintel reports that 54% of salty snack eaters not only want salt, but they’d like products with some spicy heat to them. Walnuts, of course, can be spiced with an endless array of coatings, as shown in these products.

Spicy Walnuts: Chipotle, Buffalo, Habanero, The Nutty Gourmet

The Nutty Gourmet’s walnut lineup includes three spicy combinations: chipotle, Buffalo and habanero. Keto friendly, these flavored walnuts come in handy 8 oz. packaging. They’re also gluten-free and non-GMO, with no preservatives or artificial ingredients.

Sweet & Spicy Roasted Walnuts, A Boring Life

Roasted walnuts are coated with chili powder, cayenne pepper, sugar and coconut oil for a gluten-free snack that is vegan. This whole-plant formula has no artificial colors or flavors and comes in 1 oz. single serving packaging, perfect for a snack fix throughout the day.

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