One of the most important trade shows for the global nuts sector, the annual International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) Congress, held in Florida earlier this summer, presents an invaluable opportunity for industry leaders to share knowledge, expertise and, most importantly, key insights and forecasts into where this multi-million-dollar food industry is going.
If conversations with key stakeholders, decision makers, farmers and industry experts are anything to go by, then the answer is that the global nuts industry is booming and shows no signs of slowing down.
Growing demand for plant-based alternatives
The world’s favorite nut, the almond enjoys ‘superfood’ status but remains popular for reasons far beyond its nutritional value as a snack.
The growing awareness around sustainable consumption, for example, shows no signs of abating and, when it comes to making more sustainable choices around food, almonds provide a healthy, plant-based alternative to animal protein making them right on trend.
Interestingly, middle and upper classes account for a significant proportion of nut consumption – another huge growth indicator if you consider that a significant percentage of the world’s population are set to enter the middle class.
In huge markets like India, where a much larger portion of the demographic is vegetarian when compared to Western countries, opportunity is ripe for healthy food products that can provide an affordable, non-animal protein source.
Plant-based goes mainstream
Away from more disciplined vegetarian and vegan diets, people in developed markets are generally starting to eat less meat too with campaigns such as Meat Free Monday encouraging citizens to help slow climate change, conserve natural resources and improve overall health by having at least one plant-based day per week.
As consumers in these markets continue to become more aware of the health and environmental benefits around reduced meat consumption, the demand for plant-based alternatives continues to rise.
Changing lifestyles drive demand for fast, healthy and convenient food
Away from developing markets, busy Western lifestyles mean rising demand for convenient, healthy and fast food options. While the ‘snackification’ of nuts may be nothing new, product innovations within this sector are becoming increasingly niche and sophisticated (i.e. nut butters, milks, yogurts, cheeses etc.) capitalizing on the busy, health conscious consumer seeking a fast but healthy and tasty meal option.
The bottom line? All nut sub-categories are set to increase dramatically over the next 10 years.
While this is good news, challenges to the industry such as climate change and reduced labor make automated sorting and defect detection more important than ever. See how Olam Progida’s partnership with TOMRA has brought value to their almond business.