Kraft Heinz Ingredients eyes opportunities in nut-based snacking

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27 Mar 2018 --- Kraft Heinz Ingredients (KHI) is planning to roll out new nut snacks based on prototypes introduced at the recent Snaxpo in Atlanta, US. Kraft's Senior Associate Brand Manager James Clinton Francis said that nuts offer a “new path forward for snacking” driven by the growing health and wellness trend.

KHI is familiar with the nut business, sourcing mostly peanuts and pecans, but is also leveraging its California operations for almonds and cashews. The company will continue to use its proprietary techniques in this category to extend its lineup.
Speaking to FoodIngredientsFirst, Francis said: “Kraft Heinz Ingredients (KHI) is excited to bring its nut portfolio to the food and beverage industry. The team has specifically selected a diverse portfolio of almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans, to support food and beverage manufacturers in creating innovative and disruptive products for the beverage, cereals, confectionery and snacking segments.” 

“Almonds, cashews, peanuts and pecans are the top four nuts used in the beverage, cereals, confectionery and snacking segments today. We have observed that almonds and peanuts are the most commonly used nuts in these applications, while cashews and pecans are the fastest growing,” he explains.

When it comes to snacking, younger consumers want health. According to Innova Market Insights data, more than 60 percent of snack nut and seed launches in the US use a health claim. Coincidentally, that same percentage of consumers want snacks that contain healthy attributes.

“We have observed the energy and snack bar market explode in the past years, in large part due to consumers’ demand for better-for-you snacking options and their growing appetite for nuts. That being said, the category is quite crowded, with new players constantly entering the market.”

At the SNAXPO 2018 trade show, KHI featured its nut portfolio in two applications. First, KHI wanted to capitalize on an emerging form of snack bars – a nut-based energy ball. Along with being able to claim some of the trendier, better-for-you claims – including dairy-free, raw, and vegan – the KHI team believes that consumers will be attracted to (1) the convenience and ease with which the energy balls can be consumed, as well as (2) the fun and sweet flavors that are most often seen in traditional confections.

Second, KHI chose to tap into millennials’ demand for hyper-innovative snacking options that are influenced by global flavors. Korean-inspired foods are fast captivating the palates of many American snackers, so KHI developed a gojuchang snacking nut that would inspire food manufacturers to explore a new type of spice. 

As better-for-you eating and drinking trends continue to guide new product launches, nuts help food and beverage manufacturers make healthier claims on their products. Along with being loaded with good fats and a great source of protein, there are some health benefits that aren’t as frequently discussed. For example, almonds are loaded with magnesium, a mineral that helps control blood sugar levels; pecans are rich in L-arginine, an amino acid protein that helps prevent male pattern baldness; cashews have been shown to promote bone health.
For more than a century, Kraft Heinz has been a leader in imagining creating new roasting and salting technologies for nut products. The company is continuously developing new processing techniques in this space to bring new solutions to the market.

For now, Kraft Heinz Ingredients is committed to working with its customers in optimizing the products it has recently introduced.

“That being said, we have our eye focused on the latest trends in roasting and salting and are ready to respond to industry demand,” concludes Francis.  

By Elizabeth Green

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