CHICAGO—In the December issue of Food Technology magazine published by the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), Contributing Editor A. Elizabeth Sloan writes about several trends that are taking nuts in a new direction. Nuts supply nearly 20 different vitamins and minerals, are a protein powerhouse, a good source of fiber and “good fats,” i.e., polyunsaturated and monounsaturated, and are a unique ingredient for naturally fortifying other foods.
In addition, they touch on the whole “grown in the U.S.” movement which makes them popular with foodies and chefs alike. They also add a texture and crunch to some of the trendiest foods named by the American Culinary Federation chefs in 2012 like non-wheat noodles, black/red rice and quinoa.
Interesting nut statistics pointed out in the article include:
- Nuts are consumed in 85 percent of U.S. households (NPR Group)
- Peanuts are the most popular nut, consumed in 73 percent of households, followed by almonds at 61 percent, cashews 54 percent, pecans 44 percent, walnuts 42 percent, and pistachios 40 percent (Mintel)
- Use of macadamia, hazelnuts, Brazil, pine, chestnuts, and hickory is highest in households headed by those under age 35 (Mintel)
- More than half of households are adding nuts to salads, 45 percent of them as ingredients in entrees, 38 percent add nuts to cereal, and 31 percent add them to yogurt (Mintel)
- Nine in 10 consumers believe nuts are a good source of protein and 86 percent consider them a good source of energy
With their high levels of protein and fiber, nuts are a great satiating snack. They can help with blood-sugar control, muscle health and mental function in aging adults. And, because of their ability to lower LDL cholesterol, most nuts now carry the American Heart Association’s Heart Check symbol on the front of packages.
For more than 70 years, IFT has existed to advance the science of food. Our nonprofit scientific society—more than 18,000 members from more than 100 countries—brings together food scientists, technologists and related professions from academia, government, and industry. For more information, please visit ift.org.