Recent years have seen a growing trend towards healthier snacks, and consumers are also increasingly demanding traceability.
Responding to these demands, a walnut seems to dominate as a key ingredient.
“Almonds are a great source of minerals like magnesium, iron, calcium, and phosphorous, plus they’re free of cholesterol and salt, making them a great addition to any diet.”said David Carvalho, CEO of Vercruz Almonds.
The humble almond is predicted to experience healthy growth in the coming years, more than any other nut. In 2022, the global market for almond products was estimated to be valued at $7.9 billion, according to Future Market Insight, and is projected to exceed $2 billion by 2024.
The main driver behind the rise of this humble nut is its adoption in a variety of products, from a milk alternative in beverages to adding a health halo to snack foods.
“Two handfuls of whole almonds provide 14% of our daily needs for dietary fiber, essential for a healthy intestine and to regulate cholesterol,”Carvalho said.
“That amount represents 28 to 30 grams of almonds, enough to also help prevent certain types of cancer, in addition to containing 37% of the vitamin E requirements.
“Whole almonds are richer in fiber and provide five times more phenolic compounds than blanched almonds. Simply put, they are an incredibly powerful antioxidant.”
New flavor profile
However, she cautions that, like any ingredient, eating in moderation is the key to reaping the full benefits of this superfood.
“Whether as a snack, in your vegetable milks, in pastas and recipes, almonds are your daily companion in a healthy diet.
“In Veracruz we are committed to producing the best varieties of Mediterranean almonds, including Belona, Soleta, Avijor and Guara.
“The flavor profile is very different from the vast majority of American-grown almonds, giving consumers a new and exciting option to try that is both nutritious and flavorful.”
The importance of transparency
Carvalho pointed out that transparency today is an essential component for all foods, let alone snacks, among consumers.
He advises the grower to make sure that their entire production process can be traced: from planting to harvesting and even packaging.
“End-to-end transparency is vital to communicate the quality of our product,”Carvalho said.
“Technology such as blockchain and artificial intelligence play a crucial role in the traceability, transparency and safety of smart food.”
He noted that blockchain, for example, is a vital tool for driving traceability, as it allows the journey of each product to be traced from farm to fork with time-stamped information.
“The technology, which collects interrelated data on vital factors, from planting and harvesting to processing and distribution, allows farmers to monitor the entire life cycle of their production process and provides the producer, industry, distribution and the consumer access to reliable information about each step of the food journey.
“Blockchain then stores this data in a secure way, which cannot be changed or falsified. This information can be shared with everyone in the supply chain, from distributors and retailers to end consumers.
“When the product reaches the end user, all this information about the food journey can be accessed through smart labeling technologies, such as QR codes.”
living what is preached
Carvalho said that Veracruz has started recording production data, which means that all the almonds grown in its orchards will be traceable.
“Our goal is that consumers will soon be able to read a QR code on the packaging and access a website with the record of the almond they are consuming.
“All the players in this extensive and complex chain will know the path our almonds take and will be sure that they are safe and healthy for everyone to enjoy.”