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Marketing Efforts Put Spotlight on Important Nutrition Research Findings


For years, the health benefits of almonds have been an important part of what the Almond Board shares with consumers, food and health professionals and growers around the globe. This is due to the long-standing Nutrition Research program funded by ABC. This past crop year, three innovative scientific studies published, giving almond marketing experts more good news to share about the health benefits of almonds.

The research involves three key areas in which almonds support positive outcomes:

  • Exercise recovery
  • Gut health
  • Diabetes and prediabetes
Eating almonds as a daily habit to aid exercise recovery

A new study conducted by Dr. David C. Nieman, professor and principal investigator at the Human Performance Laboratory at Appalachian State University in North Carolina, found snacking on almonds reduced feelings of fatigue and tension, increased leg and lower back strength during recovery, and decreased muscle damage during the first day of recovery for participants in the study between the ages of 35 and 60 and that exercise less than three times a week. The findings were detailed in an ABC press release earlier this year.

Dr. Nieman’s team wanted to see if eating 2 ounces of almonds daily compared to a high-carbohydrate cereal bar snack would reduce inflammation and aid recovery in healthy adults engaging in 90-minute exercise sessions. This took place over a four-week period. Dr. Nieman described almonds as “a food for fitness” because they include good unsaturated fats, the antioxidant vitamin E and polyphenols (protective compounds found in plants).

Laura Morin, ABC director of U.S. Marketing, said she is particularly excited about Dr. Nieman’s study because it means that almonds “can carve out a new and meaningful space in the area of exercise or fitness nutrition.”

The research suggests that almonds aren’t just a pre- or post-exercise snack. What Dr. Nieman found suggests that almonds can be added to sports nutrition strategies to help people recover better from exercise,” she said. “This exercise research will be a primary focus in the U.S. market in the coming year.”


Almond Board of California's Instagram and Facebook ads featuring gut health research.

Almonds role in gut health underscored by new research

A clinical study published in November 2022 investigated how gut microbes break down almonds to produce butyrate, a specific microbiota product associated with several health benefits.

A team of researchers led by Professor Kevin Whelan from King’s College London set out to determine the impact whole and ground almonds have on the composition of gut microbiota, gut microbiota diversity and gut transit time.

Results of the four-week study showed that participants -- 75 healthy women and 12 health men with an average age of 27.5 years old – who consumed about two servings of almonds a day experienced small but significant differences in stool frequency as well as significant increases in butyrate in the colon. Researchers indicate that these findings suggest positive alterations to gut microbiota functionality. These results also confirm that almonds are well tolerated and did not lead to gastrointestinal symptoms, which indicates almond consumption may be a way to increase fiber without causing any adverse effects.

Dariela Roffe-Rackind, ABC’s director, Europe and global public relations, said the Almond Board’s public relations push last fall associated with the Whelan gut health study has proven popular with media around the world. So far this year, it is the top-performing study pitched by ABC to media and accounting for 32% of all ABC impressions focused on nutrition studies.

“To us, what this means is that the area of improving gut health through adding one whole food – almonds – really resonated with global media,” Roffe-Rackind said.

In July, following the study pitch, the Almond Board ran advertising on Meta (Facebook and Instagram) encouraging consumers to learn more about the gut health research.

The goal, Roffe-Rackind explained, is “to reach consumers, where they are and in more than one way, whether by reading an article in a trusted news source or seeing an ad as they scroll through their social feed.”

The ads appeared in the United States and were translated to run in eight other markets – India, Mexico, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Italy, France and the United Kingdom.


Almond Board of California's Instagram and Facebook ads featuring diabetes research.

Breaking new ground in almonds and prediabetes research

Over a decade of research has investigated the role of almonds in supporting healthy blood sugar as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Elena Hemler, ABC’s associate director of nutrition research said that “the nutrient profile of almonds makes them a natural choice for researchers looking for foods and dietary patterns that might support healthy blood glucose levels.” This crop year, two new research studies were published in this area.

One study was conducted over three days and the other study over three months, and both demonstrated benefits to blood sugar control for adult Asian Indians with prediabetes and overweight/obesity. In both studies, half of the participants (30 people) ate 20 g (0.7 oz) of almonds, around a small handful, 30 minutes before breakfast, lunch, and dinner throughout the study durations. The remaining 30 participants (the control group) continued to consume their usual diet. The three-month study broke new ground with nearly one-fourth (23.3%) of the participants in the almond group returning to their normal blood glucose regulation. Prediabetes often progresses to diabetes so finding dietary solutions to halt this progression is critical. While these results are extremely promising, findings need to be confirmed in larger studies with longer durations and in other populations, such as people with type 2 diabetes.

ABC’s marketing teams were quick to spread the good news about the Asian Indian research starting in April. As with the report on gut health, ABC also ran ads on Meta supporting the research in the same key global markets.

Roffe-Rackind said, “An analysis of the diabetes research Meta campaign is under way, but initial results have been positive. There have been more than 10 billion impressions across all markets suggesting that these ads were an effective and efficient way to deliver almond nutrition messages to a broad population.”

Almonds stand out through targeted, research-backed communications

Positive consumer and media reactions to these three key research areas reinforce ABC’s strategy to share this kind of information.

“The studies that are funded by the Almond Board through the Nutrition Research program continue to resonate with consumers,” Roffe-Rackind explained. “While it will always be important to fund foundational research in frequently studied areas, such as heart health and diabetes, these new areas like gut health, skin health and exercise recovery really help almonds stand apart from other nuts when we talk to the media and to consumers.”

In the coming crop year, the Almond Board expects more exciting research to be published in the areas of exercise and fitness, as well as a study exploring the effects of topical application of almond oil on skin health.