The Industry’s Going Nuts for Nuts
A fun new flavor trend that’s been showing up all over the shelves as of late is that of nut-based products that do one thing differently than in the past – they don’t attempt to hide or conceal the nut’s flavor or mouthfeel. In fact, they highlight them as the main features of the product. While nuts initially saw growth as a byproduct of the non-dairy craze, in which they served as the base for countless alternative milks, ice creams, and coffee creamers, now nuts seem to be at the forefront of flavor innovation in their own right.
A great example of this trend is Ben & Jerry’s, which for a limited time offered the Uncanny Cashew flavor, a sweet cream ice cream prominently featuring caramel covered cashew nuts. The ice cream was not made of cashews instead of dairy; rather it tasted like cashews, something rather new and different for the food and beverage industry. Another example of this can be seen in the limited time offering of the Starbucks Toffee Nut Frappuccino. For both products, nuts were not the functional base, they were the innovative flavor profile.
Alcohol brand NutLiquor has also offered a blended peanut butter flavored vodka to “taste like the inside of a peanut butter cup”. And while peanut butter has long been seen as a delicious and slightly nostalgic flavor profile for cookies, cakes, and the like, it has never been mainstream in alcohol innovations either as an ingredient or a flavor profile, making this a trendy new innovation for the industry. Brands like these, and many others to be sure, are no longer using nuts simply to replace another ingredient, but are prominently featuring them as the principle flavor profile.