Chocolate and Almonds: The Perfect Pairing

 

Year after year, almond and chocolate pairings continue to grow. Based on a recent study, research found that consumers around the world continue to love chocolate, especially when the chocolate contains nuts.1 And almost half of consumers’ most recent chocolate-eating occasions involved nuts, according to the study.1 Why do global consumers consistently favor chocolate products with nuts? Because they believe the nuts’ presence makes chocolate crunchier, more nutritious and more filling.1

The study also shows that when consumers choose chocolate products with nuts, it will most likely be with almonds, accounting for 60% of chocolate-with-nut occasions.1

A closer look at the data found that there is even more evidence of consumers’ demands for almonds with chocolate, including:

  • Globally, consumers’ chocolate consumption has remained stable, with an average of 10.6 times per month.1
  • 70%of consumers across the globe preferring chocolate products with nuts.1
  • Almonds remain the top nut included in chocolate, now appearing in 59% of recent nut/chocolate occasions.1
  • When asked to build their ideal chocolate bar, consumers across the globe chose almonds as their #1 ingredient, highlighting a great opportunity for new product introductions with almonds!1

Check out the recipe for Almond Matcha Chocolates.

The Almond Opportunity

What does this research mean for chocolate product development? Almond inclusions elevate the value of chocolate products in the minds of consumers, and remain an important ingredient for chocolate fans.1

Another element of the study gave respondents the opportunity to “build” their “ideal” chocolate bar, letting them select from multiple chocolate types and textures, as well as a variety of inclusion options.1 And, as has been true since the first study in 2010, almonds continue to be the #1 ingredient consumers around the globe choose to include in their ideal chocolate bars—milk, dark or white—with 44% of respondents choosing almonds.1

 

 

Check out the recipe for Brazilian Coffee and Cocoa Almonds.

Chocolate makers can leverage this momentum by fueling the innovation pipeline with almond and chocolate products. Respondents who included almonds in their ideal chocolate were more likely than consumers who chose other nuts to describe their bar as nutritious, natural and crunchy.1 Almonds hold so much appeal for chocolate consumers: the study concludes that happiness, taste and stress reduction are the top three reasons consumers eat more chocolate, and almonds enhance all of them—and more.1

 

 

 

Here’s what almonds bring to the table—and to the chocolate bar1:
  • Consumers rated almonds the top nut for delivering crunch, satisfaction and an altogether more filling product.1
  • Survey respondents claimed that the presence of almonds in chocolate would make them more likely to buy that product than would the presence of any other nut.1
  • 82% of consumers worldwide perceive chocolate with almonds as more nutritious.
  • 81% of consumers consider chocolate with almonds to be crunchier.

Check out the recipe for California Almond Chocolate Crunch Bar.

These findings are in line with those of Innova Market Insights’ Chocolate & Almond Study: Insights and Inspiration for Innovation.2 Indulgence is the dominant position for launching chocolate confections, and the study points to inclusions as a way to create indulgent textures and calls out almonds as “a natural source of texture, flavor as well as healthy nutrition.”2 Products that include visible whole almonds and large pieces promote “clear label” and healthful positioning, the study added, and smaller almond pieces appeared to bolster indulgence.2

 

 

 

Take a look at the “The Perfect Pairing” infographic for additional consumer insights.

Don’t underestimate the importance of almonds’ healthy glow, a real asset to an indulgence like chocolate. With nutrition on the radar more than ever, almonds’ fiber, protein and antioxidant content offer chocolate developers the opportunity to heighten their products’ sensory appeal and active health positioning.2   Almonds also bring a nutritious edge and consumer appeal to granola bars: participants in the survey rated bars containing almonds as more special, better for connecting with others, more calming and a vehicle for more positive nutrition.1

 

 

 

Check out the recipe for Thai-Inspired Sweet and Spiced Cacao-Coated Almonds.

It was recently announced that almonds can be labeled “healthy” after the FDA’s re-evaluation of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. With this new information, consumers can give in to their indulgences more than ever before, knowing that there is still a healthy halo attached to their favorite treat.


References:

  1. 2016 Global Chocolate Study. Sterling-Rice Group. September 2016.
  2. Chocolate & Almonds Study: Insights and Inspiration for Innovation. Innova Market Insights. September 2016.