Walnut Community

Looking forward to 2021, there’s a plant-based revolution that’s due to make walnuts a prime ingredient for entrées that are both convenient and protein driven. Innova Market Insights has released its annual Top 10 Food and Beverage Trends to Accelerate Innovation in 2021, and plant-forward is predicted to have “rising mainstream appeal.”

“As consumers are powering up on plant protein, opportunities and challenges relating to regional consumer preferences and sustainability expectations are attracting attention,” Innova’s report notes.

What does this mean for walnuts? Innova’s report states that plant-based will expand into new categories throughout 2021, “including accelerated demand for plant proteins and more sophisticated alternatives.” The Innova Consumer Survey 2020 indicated that the top four reasons for considering plant-based alternatives were health, diet variety, sustainability and taste, and walnuts are the perfect hearty ingredient for plant-based entrées that are hitting supermarket shelves. One ounce of walnuts contains important nutrients for optimum health, and they are the only nut that is an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid (2.5g).

Additionally, walnuts provide 4g of protein per ounce, which is good news for consumers looking for a protein boost. Glanbia Nutritionals reports that there is a growing demand for protein, which is playing a larger role in consumer decision-making at the store. “The growing demand for protein has launched an interest in alternative proteins, which is as much about culinary adventure as it is about nutrition. Using proteins derived from legumes, seeds, nuts, fungi or algae is a way to add excitement, as well as the health benefits of protein diversity, to any product.”

Further, grab-and-go is of utmost importance during COVID times and in high demand with consumers. These three made-with-walnuts packaged meals are great entrées that you can take with you while offering either a plant-based or protein fix that consumers are clamoring for.

Pomegranate Walnut Chicken, Cafe Spice

Pomegranate Walnut Chicken, Cafe Spice

This Persian entrée combines walnut cream with the sweet and sour taste of pomegranates. There are 18g of protein per serving, and the meal also includes boneless chicken, onion, molasses, garlic and Persian rice.

Candied Walnut & Grape Salad, Dole FreshTakes

Launching nationwide in May after success in the Eastern region in 2019, Dole’s FreshTakes Salad Bowls are great for on-the-go, ready-to-eat demands. Dole describes the Candied Walnut & Grape variety as including “clean-label ingredients” such as candied walnuts, whole red grapes, gorgonzola cheese and Dole’s Own Signature Citrus Basil Dressing. It’s plant-based and provides 14g of protein per serving.
Dole Candied Walnut Grape Salad
Apple & Walnut Salad with Chicken, Taylor Farms

Apple & Walnut Salad with Chicken, Taylor Farms

Walnuts are blended with baby lettuce, blue cheese, dried cranberries, sweet onion vinaigrette and, of course, apples and chicken for a convenient, ready-to-eat salad. There are 8g of protein per serving, and you don’t even need a fork — it’s included.

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