Plant-based, clean-label trends drive nut, grain usage
The beverage industry has been quick on its feet to accommodate the growing consumer demand for plant-based products and some manufacturers have turned to nuts and grains to do so. This trend is most notable in the dairy-alternative category, where nut-based milks have proliferated, experts note.
Harbinder Mann, associate director of Trade Marketing and Stewardship for the Almond Board of California, Modesto, Calif., highlights the success of almond milk. Almond milk attracts consumers who are looking to reduce their consumption of animal products, soy, saturated fat, cholesterol, calories and sugar, he says.
“By incorporating almonds in dairy beverages or switching to almond milk, consumers can easily increase their consumption of plant-based foods, which are seen as an important component of a clean and healthy diet,” he adds.
Yet, nut milks aren’t the only beverage category embracing the benefits of nuts and grains, experts say.
“Nuts and grains are being used in more than just dairy alternatives. Smoothies and juice-based drinks are incorporating grains and nuts or nut butters to add fiber, protein or whole grain claims,” explains Alison Raban, certified food scientist at Rancho Dominguez, Calif.-based BI Nutraceuticals. “Finally, it may be overlooked, but craft brewed beer is another huge category that uses unique and sometimes unusual grains and nuts, again providing consumers new and exciting options.”
Ilana Orlofsky, marketing manager at Niles, Ill.-based Imbibe, also notes that nuts and grains are proliferating across a variety of beverage categories.
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