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Health and sustainability are predicted to be the two key drivers for innovation in 2022 according to Innova Market Insights, with these trends underpinned by the ever-evolving plant-based movement.

California almonds sit perfectly at the intersection of health and sustainability. They are a versatile, plant-based ingredient with 14 different forms to aid innovation, added to which their strong nutritional profile makes them ideal for responding to consumer health trends. What’s more, they are responsibly grown by farmers – 90% of whom operate family farms – who, for close to 50 years, have invested millions of dollars in research to help them grow almonds in better, safer and healthier ways.

Innova Market Insights’ key trend predictions for 2022 are: 



As it’s evolved, plant-based is now no longer about mimicking meat and dairy but creating innovation in its own right and, according to Innova Market Insights, we can expect to see a major shift in the type of products being made – with a particular focus on taste and texture. Although taste and texture continue to be trickier aspects of plant-based formulation, it’s a key deciding factor for consumers as 1 in 3 consumers globally would not consider buying 100% plant-based alternatives because of poor taste and texture.1

How do almonds fit this trend? Almonds are a useful ingredient in plant-based innovation because of their protein content and ability to pair well with other plant proteins like legumes, and lentils.

In addition to their 6 grams of plant protein per 30g serving, almonds are also useful in addressing the texture and flavour challenge. Almonds’ extensive portfolio of formats - including whole, sliced, slivered, milk, butter, flour, ground, and oil - means there are endless ways for developers to incorporate almonds into products, which makes exploring plant-based opportunities really exciting.


With environmental health being one of the top two reasons for consumers considering plant-based alternatives2, it’s no surprise that sustainability has risen to the top of Innova Market Insights’ trends for 2022. Building trust through transparency is therefore vital for manufacturers in order for their products to stand up to the scrutiny of consumers, who want to be reassured that their food choices have a positive climate impact.

How do almonds fit this trend? As consumers begin to look for more transparency when it comes to their food, manufacturers can feel confident that California almond farmers are doing everything they can to reduce their impact on the environment. With targets across zero waste, water efficiency, pest management and air quality, the Almond Orchard 2025 Goals are a tangible example of California almond farmers’ commitment to continuous improvement.


With the rise in sustainability concerns, demand has also increased for products which are part of the circular economy. Innova Market Insights’ Upcycling Redefined trend highlights a role for products that use ingredients otherwise considered as waste, with 35% of consumers globally finding products containing upcycled ingredients more appealing than those without.1

How do almonds fit this trend? California almonds are grown in a zero waste way, so play a role in the circular economy. Everything grown in the orchards is put to good use. The nutritious almonds we eat are grown in a shell which is protected by a hull; the hulls then become livestock feed and the shells are used as livestock bedding. What’s more, almond hulls contain significant amounts of extractable sugar and antioxidants that can be used to make products such as nutraceutical bars, dietary supplements, skincare products or even for brewing beer.


Functionality and authenticity are also two drivers for innovation in 2022, as consumers demand freshness and flavour as well as nutrients from what they eat. Consumers are increasingly valuing the benefits of local food, but local doesn’t necessarily have to mean local to you; there are lots of different ways to go back to the roots whether it’s being community conscious or having a product that’s naturally functional.

How do almonds fit this trend? Almonds are a natural ingredient that can help manufacturers looking to make functional claims. Almonds’ clean-label credentials make them suitable for a whole range of dietary and lifestyle choices, including vegan and gluten free. As one of the most researched foods, there are nearly 200 studies showing that almonds can support heart health, diabetes management, weight management and skin health to name a few so manufacturers can feel reassured in communicating their health benefits to consumers.

Consumers can also be encouraged knowing that California’s 7,600 almond farmers are committed to the responsible stewardship of the land for the benefit of their families, communities and everyone who loves to eat almonds. They’re working to grow almonds in better, safer and healthier ways, protecting local communities and the environment.

What next?

With Innova Market Insights’ trends in mind, there’s opportunities abound for manufacturers in 2022. As consumer demand continues to evolve with a focus on both plant-based, transparency and authentic food, ingredients like almonds can add value for developers as a responsibly-grown, nutritious ingredient.


1 Innova Trends Survey 2021

2 Innova Trends Survey 2020 and 2021