China Food

Oat fire, “walnut” elements how to stand out in the new category?



Text: Tina Li

Source: foodaily daily food (ID: foodaily)

Walnut is a widely used ingredient, from vegetable meat substitutes to snack bars and other new food categories. With the development of health, food science and flavor research, product developers all over the world began to study the application of Walnut in new products.

In the past year alone, we have seen a variety of walnut based foods. They are either used to simulate the taste of ground beef, or to produce walnut sauce that conveys flavor and provides omega-3 fatty acids, or snack bars that meet the requirements of flavor and texture, or to provide overall food benefits Foodaily tries to explain the unique charm of walnut elements from the innovative application of Walnut in different categories.

Plant based food:

Perfect substitute for flavor / texture / nutrition

Nowadays, elastic vegetarian has become the choice of more and more consumers, so the target group of product development is no longer just vegetarians. Because elastic vegetarians pay special attention to flavor and taste when choosing plant-based food, hoping to find its perfect substitute, so the plant-based brand pays special attention to flavor and taste in product design.

According to the data of good food institute, over the past 10 years, investors have injected more than $16 billion into US plant-based and cell-based meat companies, and the growth of plant-based protein and meat substitutes is expected to increase from $4.6 billion in 2018 to $85 billion in 2030. However, the data also show that whether consumers buy back plant-based food for a long time will depend on the taste, texture and ingredients of the product.

However, the raw materials used in some popular meat substitutes in today’s market always make many consumers suspicious. Because when the cleaning label becomes a health trend, the hemoglobin, methylcellulose and other ingredients used by brands at this stage obviously can not convince consumers. With the addition of walnuts to provide delicious and meat like texture, brands can simulate the texture and taste of ground beef and alternative milk without unnecessary ingredients and fillers, maintaining the advantage of clean label.

In addition, walnuts also provide unique nutritional value, because it is the only nut rich in essential plant omega-3 linolenic acid (ALA), which contains 2.5 grams per ounce. When used in plant-based alternatives such as walnut butter or walnut milk, food manufacturers can increase the content of ala-3 fatty acids in their products.

Let’s look at the pioneer products in this category.

Eat nice foods has created a meaty walnut ravioli, which uses walnuts and sun dried tomatoes to enhance the taste and flavor of the meat. Vegan essentials called the product “luxurious and decadent” and said it would “shock your world, especially with cream or cheese as a sauce”. In addition to walnuts, the ingredients include garlic, olive oil and sun dried tomatoes.

Image source: Sarah withrowking

Amy’s kitchen California veggie burger is a plant-based pie that does not contain dairy products and soybeans. The product combines walnuts with mushrooms, onions, celery, carrots, oats, garlic and potatoes. A pie contains 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of dietary fiber.

Image source: Google

Baked goods:

Clean label and health indulgence become the highlight

Walnut has been used in bakery for hundreds of years. Its versatility, flavor and texture make it an ideal choice for countless baked goods. No ingredient is better than walnut’s unique nutty flavor and texture, which is neither too soft nor too hard. However, its use in bakery food is not limited to sweets such as chocolate biscuits or brownies, as well as pie crust, Handmade Bread and so on.

During the COVID-19, people focused their consumption on family scenes, which made them discover the pleasure and necessity of making baked foods. As the epidemic subsided, people’s habit of handmade high-end, high-value bread, cakes and sweets was retained, and the sales of baking premixed powder and other related products were also considerable.

In the category of baked goods, clean label formula is a major trend to meet the needs of consumers, and now brands are consciously turning the product formula to the components that consumers are familiar with, without processing and artificial ingredients. The move prompted developers to focus on shortening the list of ingredients. “Choosing the right ingredients is an increasingly complex decision, especially in today’s clean label environment,” said PAM Stauffer, Cargill’s global marketing project manager.

Even in indulgent categories like desserts, consumers are looking for a shorter description of the ingredients in the label and the name they recognize. “

In this way, the characteristics of walnut meet the needs of the public. Consumers are very familiar with walnuts, coupled with its all natural and high nutritional value, so this kind of familiarity and recognition makes walnuts a very valuable ingredient in baked food formula. For product developers, walnuts come in a variety of sizes and shapes, from bites to powder. This diversity also enables walnuts to be presented in a variety of ways, from external decorations to functional ingredients inside baked goods.

In addition, in the modern life with more developed material conditions and entertainment methods, health indulgence has become the “Holy Grail” of food and beverage product development, but at the same time, almost every brand is trying to create products rich in nutrition, and walnut, as a raw material that can not only provide essential nutrition, but also meet consumers’ indulgent eating needs, is easy to be added to all kinds of food.

In a consumer survey in 2019, taste was listed as the primary reason for consumers to choose walnuts. In addition, 90% of consumers believe that walnuts are a nutritious food, and 78% of consumers say that the health benefits of walnuts have a positive impact on their purchase decisions.

The fearless keto cookie bits made from California walnut powder contains 1 gram of carbohydrate and 3 grams of protein, which can satisfy the perfect indulgence of innocent and evil feeling every day. The company’s goal in making biscuit formula is to turn ordinary Mini biscuits into a sugar free, low carbohydrate, full energy snack, with an appropriate amount of healthy fat, nut powder and whey protein, so as to trigger the brain’s “hunger control center” and achieve the purpose of weight control.

Image source: Google

Honeycut carrot cake contains 11 grams of protein per serving, baked with walnuts, cinnamon and carrots, topped with lemon and ginger. Delallo’s Cranberry walnut crisps are hand cut and packaged, mixed with sweet and chewy dried cranberries and crisp crushed walnuts. The cranberry walnuts used are produced in small quantities with authentic Italian formula, pure natural, and free of trans fatty acids or preservatives.

Photo source: Uber eats


Plant based category expanded beyond Oat Milk

Dairy products are not limited to dairy products. In the past decade, the “dairy products” in supermarkets have changed, and plant-based products are gradually becoming popular. At present, plant-based milk accounts for 13% of total retail milk sales, an increase of 6% over last year. According to the global dairy alternative products market forecast of Mordor intelligence, a market research company, the category of dairy substitutes will reach US $23.35 billion, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.85% by 2024.

As you can see, the milk category is turning to more plant-based alternatives, and now this trend is being used in yogurt, ice cream and jam. Nut based creamers enable consumers to use plant substitutes to sweeten coffee, so this category is also growing rapidly in catering services and supermarkets.

Walnut, as a perfect substitute for dairy products, can provide the perfect taste of milk fat and nuts for milk and milk essence. In plant-based yoghurt and cheese, walnuts can be used both as an inclusion to provide texture and as a base material to provide main ingredients. In ice cream, walnut can provide special texture to satisfy consumers’ indulgence.

Elmhurst’s walnut milk can be divided into sweet type and non sweet type, giving full play to the omega-3 ala effect of walnut. This unique product has good shelf stability (no need to refrigerate before opening) and is made from only two ingredients: walnut and water. The company said that the walnut milk has passed the non transgenic project certification and meets Jewish clean food standards.

Image source: Elmhurst 1925

Nut paste:

Alternative nut paste has become a development trend, and emotional improvement has aroused concern

According to research and market reports, sales in the nut paste category are expected to reach $1.81 billion by 2024. Among the top ten food trends of whole foods market in 2020, “alternative nut butters” was rated as one of the most anticipated and innovative trends of that year. With the influx of new products into the market, consumer demand for more diversified and innovative products is obvious, many of which contain nut mixtures and unconventional seasonings.

In the nut paste category, consumers are also more willing to choose products that can meet their specific health needs, while walnuts are favored for their high protein content and omega-3 fatty acids. In the category once dominated by peanut butter, walnut butter is expanding both in scale and variety, and has attracted consumers’ attention in taste, nutrition and protein content.

Walnut sauce is smooth and delicious, catering to a variety of market trends: nutrition, unique flavor, clean label, pure natural ingredients and convenience. Walnut sauce can be spread or dipped separately, and can also be used as a filling for snack bars, biscuits or sweets; it also shines in other areas such as soups, smoothies, oatmeal, desserts and sandwiches.

At the same time, walnut sauce contains delicate fruit flavor, which makes it possible to achieve endless flavor combinations. In a study by Davis sensory Research Institute, dark chocolate was rated as the first flavor to match with walnuts, and the combination of walnut sauce and chocolate is also popular.

In addition, according to bakery & snakes, food manufacturers have added mood promoting ingredients to a variety of snack products, and nut paste is now the main category in this category, and is widely used as an mood enhancer in food.

Butterfly superfoods’ chocolate Ganoderma lucidum nut paste highlights the sweet combination of dark chocolate and walnut. Its unique ingredients include Ganoderma lucidum powder, walnut, cocoa, cinnamon, vanilla essence and Siraitia grosvenorii, which can be paired with fruit, toast, rice cake or ice cream.

Photo source: Butterfly superfoods


Crazy go nuts’ chocolate espresso walnut sauce is made from California walnuts and can be used as a coffee partner. The company claims that the product makes mocha and cappuccino coffee “all natural” every morning, and can play the role of emotional adjustment.

Image source: Twitter


Not only to enjoy, but also to taste nutrition

Nowadays, supermarket shelves are full of all kinds of creative snacks, from catering to indulgence, we can see from the new products in the world. Food ingredients first reported that the average annual growth rate of snack products containing nuts was 9%, including spicy nut flavor such as pepper, mustard and spicy sauce barbecue; acid flavor was also developing, such as dried cherry and blueberry; the flavor with national charm gradually became the dominant.

However, it’s a wise choice to have a snack that can make people feel at ease and indulge – such is the case with walnuts. Can be eaten alone, can also be combined with popular condiments, or as a leisure food ingredients. This versatility, coupled with flavor, texture and contribution to health, can satisfy consumers’ desire for healthy snacks without sacrificing flavor.

In addition, there are lots of spices for walnuts on the market, ranging from rosemary, espresso to pumpkin. Among them, pickled walnut proved to be the perfect snack for healthy heart.

Crazy go nuts gourmet walnut offers a variety of unique flavors of all natural gourmet walnuts, including rosemary powder salt, oatmeal biscuits, maple sugar, bananas, garlic parmesan cheese, eggnog, pumpkin spices and sea salt. Each contains 4 grams of protein.

Source: QVC

Diamond of California’s new range of rich walnuts includes hot honey, zhaoshao and mustard, salty dark chocolate, sweet maple, Himalayan Pink salt, chili lime, hickory smoked bacon and cinnamon sauce.

Image source: Google

Snack bar:

Perfect fourth meal, bar high quality adhesive

The practical snack bar, which can provide all-weather snacks and contains plant ingredients, is being welcomed by consumers. There are many reasons why consumers prefer snack bars. For example, it can be used as a snack between meals, food substitute, energy supplement and so on.

According to the data in the snack, nutrition and performance bars report of inmate, in 2019, the snack bar industry will exceed US $9.6 billion. Among them, snack bars rich in protein and fiber, as well as snack bars providing plant protein and real food ingredients, stand out.

Nuts are rich in high-quality fat, which has attracted much attention in snack bar formula, especially the high concentration of nut bar is more helpful to transmit satiety and nutrition. So why don’t people buy a snack bar with only one ingredient to meet all the requirements? Walnut snack bar can do it! It can provide the required taste, texture and nutritional characteristics through a single overall component, thus gaining an advantage in the highly competitive category.

From the perspective of flavor, walnut has a unique and subtle nutty flavor, which complements chocolate, vanilla, fruit, etc. in addition, it has a perfect taste, which is neither hard nor soft. This is the key to a nut snack bar, which requires an adhesive to make all the ingredients stick together, and a hard or chewy snack bar will make the consumer resent it. Overview of walnut related snack bar products on the market, its innovation is mainly reflected in high-quality nutrition, flavor and energy supplement.

Blue dinosaur’s paleo bar apple pie is made from only five ingredients: walnut, apple, jujube, cinnamon and coconut oil. The snack bar is free of preservatives, gluten, grains, dairy products and soybeans. But it contains antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, monounsaturated fatty acids and other healthy ingredients.

Image source: Facebook

Ataq Chocolate Walnut energy bars is a unique original energy bar that contains walnut and ginseng extracts to boost energy and recover quickly after exercise, according to the company. Other ingredients include dates, gluten free oats, chocolate chips, sugar free cocoa and sea salt, each containing 4 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein.

Image source: Amazon

Oats / grains:

Functional & new changes in food scene, promoting healthy grain innovation

More and more cereal and oat producers are adding healthy ingredients to their products to make consumers have a healthy start. According to the global breakfast cereal report of packaged facts, by 2023, the global breakfast cereal market will grow at an annual rate of 3%, reaching US $40 billion.

Traditionally, cereal is eaten in a bowl with milk at home. But according to a report by inmant, cereal has gone beyond breakfast to become something that can be enjoyed at any time of the day and is no longer a traditional bowl. The time and scene for consumers to eat cereal have changed, and even the way to eat cereal has changed. These changes have created conditions for further innovation of cereal food. More than two fifths of U.S. grain consumers respond that they eat grain as a snack at home in addition to breakfast. Nearly one in five said they ate cereal when they left home, while 10 percent ate it on the road.

Traditional cereals are divided into children’s sugary products and adult functional Cereals, but these boundaries are becoming blurred as more and more cereal producers restructure existing products, add clean labels and remove artificial ingredients. Walnut is more and more added into this kind of products as a beneficial ingredient to human body. At the same time, walnut can be used as a familiar flavor to be added into the new food formula.

Quaker real medleys Apple walnut is ready to eat with just water. Each product contains walnuts, dried apples, cranberries and 31 grams of whole grains.

Post great grains banana nut crunch includes walnuts, banana bunches and traditional slices. This kind of cereal is suitable for the whole day, and can be eaten at any time before exercise, leisure, breakfast, etc. Each serving contains 6 grams of protein and 7 grams of dietary fiber.

Image source: Facebook

Granola cereal / Mixed Cereal:

Catering to the trend of gluten free, providing only omega-3 essential fatty acids

A study by Nielsen found that 45% of respondents around the world think that snacks with all natural ingredients are very important. Hartmann group, a market research company, found that the desire for convenience is a trend, which is prominent in packaging demand, and consumers are looking for resealable packaging (43%) and disposable packaging (27%), which is very matched with the innovative development trend of granola and mixed cereal. The direction of removing gluten from cereal also makes nuts and alternative cereals more and more popular in cereal products.

Due to its unique taste and texture, walnuts have always been a perfect complement to granola and blended cereals. However, food manufacturers are now taking advantage of the omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts by introducing new functional granules. So why do walnuts with these fatty acids get so much attention?

According to our data, omega-3 fatty acids are essential fatty acids that human beings need to eat. The body cannot produce them spontaneously. Walnut is mainly composed of polyunsaturated fatty acids, while most other nuts mainly contain monounsaturated fats. Therefore, as mentioned earlier, walnut is the only nut that provides an excellent source of plant-based omega-3 linolenic acid (ALA). Secondly, as a kind of nutritious food, walnut is a good way to improve the overall diet quality, and has obtained the heart examination mark * certification of American Heart Association. In addition, an ounce of walnut also contains 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber, which is a good source of magnesium and phosphorus.

So how can walnuts be used in cereal? Perhaps traditional recipes like nuts, seeds and dried fruit mixtures also need to be tested today. The California walnut Council has studied the best walnut flavors to match, and the results range from dark chocolate and vanilla to sesame peppers and cinnamon Indian spices. In granola and mixed Cereals, the subtle nutty flavor of walnut is combined with sweet, salty, spicy and other ingredients to form a perfect taste, neither too hard nor too soft. This bold and unique flavor combination, different texture and taste will be the key to the future processing of granola and mixed cereals.

Let’s take a look at several representative products.

Wildway grain free granola dark chocolate strawberry flavor is one of the company’s we rise seasonal character lanola cereals. It combines walnuts with unsweetened cocoa powder, sea salt, vanilla beans and dried strawberries for a unique flavor.

Image source: Amazon

Diane’s kitchen has developed cherry nut blended cereal as part of its daily crunch line. The blended cereal, which contains walnuts, dried blueberries and cherries, is said to soak and slowly dehydrate nuts to make a unique crisp snack that provides 2 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein per serving.

In February 2020, one degree organic foods launched a new maple sugar almond grain free granola cereal, designed for consumers who want to avoid or reduce gluten intake, including walnuts, raisins, coconut chips, cinnamon and vanilla. Each cereal contains 2 grams of dietary fiber and 3 grams of protein.

Source: Canadian grocer


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