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Three AI- and Almond-Powered Snacking Insights to Leverage in 2024

The world of AI is growing into all industries and sparking innovation in the world of food creativity. Here at the Almond Board of California (ABC), we allow AI—Almond Intelligence—to inform our understanding of food trends.

Using Tastewise, the end-to-end Generative AI platform for modern food & beverage brands, ABC is allowing this new technology to analyze and understand real-time consumption data. Tastewise analyzes billions of social media posts and photos, restaurant menus, recipes and more to help understand what foods are trending and why— going beyond present food fads and looking into the lasting evolution of consumers’ tastes with more time to prepare for future demands.

How do you apply AI-driven insights to inspire product development?

To give a little taste into how AI can spark more creativity in innovation, ABC worked with Tastewise and Chef Henry Hill (Hill’s Research Kitchen) to identify key snacking opportunities for almonds and develop inspirational recipe concepts that bring those ideas to life.

Here are some almond-centered trends we have found through the Tastewise platform:

  • Harnessing fitness-related benefits can answer the consumer call for more specific and personalized health claims. There’s an appetite for foods, like almonds, that offer functional nutrition packages.
  • Keeping a pulse on global cuisines and new flavors, captures the eye of today’s adventurous consumer. Almonds’ neutral taste and versatility makes them a perfect canvas for creativity in flavor and use in convenient snack formats.
  • Reducing food waste is a key opportunity area where almonds can contribute to a guilt-free experience. Consumers on social are interested in finding ways to upcycle ingredients like almond pulp at home, posing opportunities for the food industry to communicate zero waste approaches to food and agricultural byproducts.

Henry HillThese almond trends we’ve detected through Tastewise have allowed food professionals like Chef Henry Hill to create new and innovative recipes! Check out below to see these trends come to life in recipes he created.

Mangonada-Flavored Almond Biscuit Stick

Younger consumers are increasingly interested in international snacks and new flavors, and Chef Henry found opportunities to use current manufacturing technology in a new way.

“I wanted to repurpose rolled wafer tube/straw manufacturing technology and look at how you could enrobe them similar to Japanese biscuit sticks — and create savory versions, cut them into smaller bites, use fillings and different types of crackers that can be labeled as baked and not fried,” he said.

Chef Henry married the world of Japanese and Mexican flavors by creating a Mangonada-flavored Almond Biscuit Stick, inspired by a popular thin biscuit stick snack from Japan that is often sweet and covered in chocolate for a grab-and-go delight. Mangonada poses opportunity as it’s in the early stage of its lifecycle in the U.S., according to Tastewise, and has seen +19% YOY social change (2023.) By filling the centers with chamoy, a sweet-spicy-tangy condiment that originated in Mexico, Chef Henry created a tasty snack that packs a punch. The recipe also reduces almond food waste by utilizing leftover almond pulp.

Almond Butter Chili Crisp

Finally, Chef Henry explored a new take on chili crisp, which Tastewise shows is a trending ingredient that has seen a +60% YOY social change (2023.)

“I chose chili crisp as an inspiration because it has really been blowing up as a platform, but there is much more room for differentiation among the products being launched,” said Chef Henry. “Miso is in this concept because it seemed to complement the umami of the almond butter and tie through to the chili crisp idea.”

In this spicy condiment, Chef Henry highlights the various textures of almonds in this Almond Butter Chili Crisp. Originally from China, chili crisp is growing in popularity for its versatility in flavor and texture to heighten the experience of any meal. Chef Henry captures the chili crunch taste by utilizing toasted almonds and dehydrated almond skins but adds an element of smoothness by mixing in almond butter. The use of dehydrated almond skins is another way to implement zero waste in a recipe, as almond skins can be leftover after the blanching process.

Pictured: Inspirational AI-generated concept suggestions related to almond and chili crisp trends from Tastewise’s Content Agency, a generative AI platform built on robust, real-time food and beverage data (2023.)

Almond Milk & Orange Blossom Honey Energy Gummy

As consumers look for more specific health benefits, “energy” is a top consumer functional health need for gummies.

Pictured: Functional Health Consumer Demands for Gummies, Oct. 2022-Oct. 2023 via Tastewise.

Conversations about gummies and energy have increased by 37% YOY, according to Tastewise (2023.) While berry-related flavors like black raspberry, strawberry, cherry and others are frequently used, Chef Henry notes that the gummy format is a great way for entrepreneurs to introduce functional benefits and new flavors.

“Gummies still seem to be a favorable delivery platform for functional ingredients— they have a lower barrier of entry compared to other delivery platforms (like beverages), so they’re a great way to test an idea and validate it on a functional consumer,” said Chef Henry.

The Almond Milk & Orange Blossom Honey Energy Gummies he created may be small, but they offer big opportunities for product developers to experiment with food for fitness and new flavors. Chef Henry created a chewy, flavorful gummy that combines the flavors of almond milk, honey and orange with guayasa tea extract (which contains caffeine) to offer a functional and delicious energy bite.

Pictured: Inspirational AI-generated concept suggestions related to almond, honey and gummy trends from Tastewise’s Content Agency, a generative AI platform built on robust, real-time food and beverage data (2023.)

In the ever-evolving world of food trends, the future of almonds is sure to grow with consumer tastes. Follow ABC’s LinkedIn page for Food Professionals to stay up to date on the latest trend research.