Today’s consumers are more focused than ever on combining bold new tastes, variety, healthfulness, and sustainability in their food choices. And the trend is growing. “Variety” for many shoppers means new tastes, positive health benefits, and sustainable production. The younger the demographic, the more important this combined decision matrix becomes. And this is where Black Walnuts shine. Their bold flavor, superfood status, and uncultivated sourcing put them right on trend.
In an inflation fueled economy, price is important, but taste still remains the number one factor in buying decisions. A new product purchase survey conducted right before the Covid pandemic by IRI, showed that consumers ranked Taste number one, followed by Price, Healthfulness, Convenience, Simple Ingredients, and Sustainability.
This was mirrored by a more recent study by the International Food Information Council that found 88% of consumers considered taste to be the leading factor in their purchase decision. This is one of the main reasons wild Black Walnuts are receiving increased attention in grocery, culinary, and ingredient formulations.
In fact, 52 percent of millennials are more likely to visit a restaurant that offers new or innovative flavors, according to Technomic’s most recent flavor consumer trend report.
In addition to taste, health has become a major purchase priority. “Consumers are balancing their emphasis on value with an interest in healthier foods,” stated a McKinsey study released in May when double digit inflation was in full acceleration. “About 40 percent of consumers expect to increase their focus on healthy eating and nutrition. Consumers intend to purchase more regional and local goods (41 percent), high-protein options (34 percent), and offerings that are free from certain ingredients (33 percent), along with other naturally healthy options. This combination of saving money and eating healthier, more nutritious foods is more prevalent among millennial and Gen Z consumers.”
Nearly 70 percent of millennials focus on company values when making a purchasing decision, according to Consumer Technographics. Since this demographic will comprise some 75% of the workforce by 2026, its health plus values focus will have a formidable economic impact that will only grow stronger.
The data signals major shifts in consumer preferences and behavior. Taste preferences are now based on the natural, inherent qualities of a healthy, sustainable product. Bold, rich flavors that are born in a product are preferred over complex, added “natural” flavors that crowd an ingredient label.
This trend is highly visible in the increasing number of fresh markets and expanded produce departments within conventional grocery stores, which now offer an incredible variety of healthy fruits, vegetables—and nuts. Consumers want healthy choices.
Accelerating these combined trends is technology. Mobile devices provide instant access to new products, nutritional information, personalized recipes, and social networks that share food discoveries. Shoppers research foods, sourcing, social opinion and company values before they enter the store or buy online. In fact, store selection often is based on predetermined variety and product availability.
Also supporting this trend is a growing awareness of “food as medicine.” Easy access to information, both science-based and opinion-based, has stoked interest in supporting personal health and fighting disease through better food selection. The medical community also has begun to discover the power of diet in supporting better health.
According to Tufts University, “Introducing a nutrition education requirement could translate to medical practitioners better equipped to advise and direct patients to the resources needed to access nutritional health. Investing in these Food is Medicine initiatives has the potential to prevent 1.1 million hospitalizations and save $39 billion in healthcare spending,” according to a report published in March.
A greater knowledge of how simple, real food contributes to good health and disease prevention swings the focus away from pills and supplements. And this real food will be sourced from regenerative, sustainable sources—with rich, bold new flavors and variety.
According to a Supermarket Perimeter/Cypress Supermarket Shopper study, health-related claims make up nine of the top 10 purchasing drivers of fresh perimeter foods:
- High protein: 37%
- All-natural/no artificial flavors: 31%
- High fiber: 28%
- Low sugar: 23%
- Heart health: 22%
- Immunity boosting: 21%
- Energy boosting: 20%
- Low-sodium: 19%
- Cognitive/mental health improvement: 18%
It also found that during the Covid pandemic, “34% of consumers increased their purchases of fresh fruits and vegetables — the biggest increase in any perimeter department, and 94% of those said they expect those higher purchase patterns to continue. Millennials (37%) and Gen Xers (34%) saw the biggest gains and 21% increased their purchase of clean-label products, the most of all food categories measured. 89% expect that behavior to continue.”
Black Walnuts embody all the qualities today’s consumers want—a rich source of phytosterols, especially beta-sitosterol, which have been shown to help prevent obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease while promoting lower cholesterol, lower inflammation and anti-cancer activity, according to a report published in the Journal of Food Composition and Analysis.
With the highest protein of any tree nut, Black Walnuts are low in saturated fat, high in unsaturated fat, contain vitamin A, iron, minerals and fiber and serve as a cholesterol- and sugar-free snack or ingredient. They also are a hand-harvested, highly sustainable wild species that grows in abundance throughout the United States. For generations, Black Walnuts have been popular in baking, ice cream, snacks, and fine dining, appearing in dishes served at the White House.
Today, Black Walnuts are receiving attention for their superfood status and sustainability, and key role in providing essential nutrients in support of optimal health through diet. Black Walnut pieces, oil, and a new high protein flour are in the vanguard of new product development. They are poised to become even more important in support of consumer demand for healthful products with bold natural flavor.
Black Walnuts—the Bold, Wild Walnut.
Please contact us for more insight and information on this heart-healthy superfood and why its popularity is growing.
The Hammons Black Walnut Family
Phone: 1-888-429-6887 or direct at 417-276-5181