Consumer Research and Demand

California Walnuts commissioned consumer research, which includes insights related to walnut usage in packaged foods. The study, conducted by an independent research firm in 2019, fielded an online survey to 4,014 people, providing a sample consistent with gender and regional distribution of walnut users and non-users in the United States.

The survey indicated consumers are eating more whole foods, more nuts, fewer carbs and more good fats. Eating more fruits and vegetables remains the top eating habit people report doing to improve their health (56%), followed by eating more nuts (44%).

Walnuts are an ideal ingredient for food professionals looking to deliver new creative products without sacrificing flavor, while adding texture or nutrition.

Walnut Cluster

Consumers believe walnuts can be used across a wide variety of usage occasions. Cookies, baking mixes, cakes and pastries are among the biggest opportunity for walnut acceptance. 

76% of consumers surveyed think walnuts make a good ingredient in packaged goods.

Pappardelle with Walnut Pesto
Toasted Walnut Hummus
Mediterranean Walnut Nachos
73% would purchase a food product knowing it contains walnuts

Interestingly, walnut consumers tend to be more outgoing and adventurous when it comes to trying new foods and eating healthy. 75% of walnut users surveyed like trying new recipes (which could be applied to purchase attitudes toward prepared food products). 63% pay close attention “to the healthfulness of ingredients” in food.

Strong Consumer Interest in Walnut Products Across Categories

A Favorable Response to Walnuts in Products

As walnut demand is on the rise due to taste and preference, interest in walnut products is particularly strong in these categories.

Survey question: How likely would you be to purchase the following manufactured or pre-made products that contain walnuts?

A Favorable Response to Walnuts in Products Updated 2019 Graph
Walnuts in Bowl

Consumers surveyed cited multiple reasons for using walnuts.

Of those surveyed, the #1 reason people consume walnuts is because they are delicious. Other leading mentions include ‘nutritious’, ‘positive health benefits’ and ‘convenient snack’.

Walnuts Are Perceived as Nutritious

Walnuts are strongly recognized as “nutritious” and “all natural.” Value perceptions of walnuts have increased significantly, alongside convenience.

Survey question: How much do you agree with the following statements (that can be used to describe walnuts)?

In 2019, 78% said walnut health benefits positively impacted their purchase decision.

California Walnut Labeling Opportunities

On-Packaging Labeling Opportunities

Heart-specific and walnut messaging may be a way to engage the health-minded consumer for walnut products. In 2017, 72% of participants were likely to purchase food products labeled “heart healthy”; 63% if labeled “contains walnuts”.

80% of consumers know omega-3 is a good fat. Walnuts are the only nut with an excellent source of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA, the plant-based omega-3 fatty acid.

The California Walnut logo is available for free use on packaging. Email info@walnuts.org to find out more.
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