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The Benefits of Almonds in Chocolate Products: Your Questions Answered

From consumer to sensory and shelf-stability research, the latest on why almonds are an ideal ingredient in chocolate product innovation.


California Almonds in Chocolate Products: Consumer Demand and New Frontiers

Clean-label and natural products are key trends impacting innovative development, and the chocolate sector is well-primed to address the ever-growing consumer demand for such products. To increase product appeal to health and wellness-focused consumers, manufacturers are including almonds with chocolate, building on almonds’ natural and nutritious qualities.  

  • Almonds remain the number one ingredient in surveyed global consumers’ ideal chocolate products. Almonds outperformed all nuts in nine of ten key benefits consumers feel add to chocolate, including “more natural,” “more indulgent,” “more satisfying,” and “higher quality.” Almond butter is a top filling/flavor included in surveyed consumers’ ideal chocolate products. Globally, almond butter is a top fifteen inclusion for surveyed consumers across milk, dark and white chocolate. 1
  • Almonds can lend a healthy halo to chocolate products. In all forms, California almonds can help deliver holistic “better-for-you” claims as they are a natural ingredient and nutritional powerhouses. According to the Innova Global New Products Report on 2021 launches, introductions with almonds lead to a higher likelihood of health claims. Following trends and consumer demands for clean label products, the top claims used on packaging of products with almonds worldwide were “gluten-free” (21 percent) and “no additives/preservatives” (16 percent).2
  • As manufacturers look to strike a balance between health, nutrition, and simple indulgence, texture is also emerging as a promising way to craft unique experiences using novel techniques and ingredients to pique consumers’ interest. Global consumers find almonds make chocolate crunchier (88 percent) and more nutritious (86 percent)1. Using almond slivers or diced almonds and creamy almond milk and almond paste will create the ideal mouthfeel when indulging.

Making the Most of Almonds in Chocolate: Shelf Life and Stability

California almonds and chocolate are a craveable combination, but how can manufacturers ensure they are using the right formulations to prioritize both delicious consumer appeal and shelf life? Maximizing almond flavor through roasting and understanding almond quality preservation techniques, including packaging, will allow product manufacturers to develop high-quality and long-lasting products:

  • Almond Roasting: Almond roasting emphasizes the flavor and textural attributes of almonds – deepening the color and taste profile, and creating a crispier, crunchier exterior. These treatments can ensure that the desired texture is consistent and stays intact throughout the rest of the product development process. 
  • Parameters for Managing Shelf Life of Almonds: The almond is a living kernel, and it interacts with its environment. To keep almonds stable and provide a long shelf life of up to two years, the almond’s moisture content needs to stay below six percent—ideally between 3.5 and 5.5 percent. High humidity and high temperatures can accelerate the release of fatty acids which can become oxidized. It’s important to maintain a storage environment that is between 50 and 60 percent relative humidity and temperatures below 59°F.
  • Proper Packaging: To create a long-lasting product that keeps consumers wanting more, packaging almonds properly is an important step. Packaging is especially important with roasted almonds because high roasting temperatures initiate some lipid oxidation. Use packaging that provides a better oxygen barrier — particularly nitrogen flushing or vacuum packaging — to keep oxygen away to slow down oxidation. Packaging also prevents or slows down product water absorption from humid environments to further extend shelf life.

Experiments Exploring Almond Stability and Consumer Acceptance in Chocolate Products

To better understand how various chocolate confections containing almond ingredients performed over shelf life regarding the presence or absence of bloom and overall sensory acceptance, three experiments were conducted in conjunction with the Professional Manufacturing Confectioners Association (PMCA). These new studies found that to minimize or mitigate issues when formulating, confectioners should carefully consider the almond form, the way it has been processed, as well as the chocolate mass itself in order to ensure a high-quality consumer experience.

Learn more about innovating with almonds in chocolate products

Recipe Inspiration

With over fourteen versatile forms, almonds offer endless options for chocolate development. These recipes give a taste of the creative applications of almonds in chocolate, from nougat to almond butter chocolate rope!

Chocolate Almond Butter Rocky Rope

Vegan Toffee with Dark Chocolate & Almonds

All-Star Almond Bar

1 Global Chocolate Study, Sterling Rice Group, 2022. 


2 Innova Market Insights, 2021 Global New Product Introductions Report, May 2022.