Salted nuts, raisins, pistachios, almonds and seeds are just a few of the snacks that are becoming more visual on supermarket shelves. Supermarkets only increase the shelf footprint of items if they think they will sell, so what is happening in this snack sector?

The old image

Roasted nuts were often eaten in two places: the bar or your grandparents living room. Savvy bartenders knew that by placing a salty bowl of nuts on the bar would tempt the drinker to snack on them. The effect of the salty, apparently free nibble was that the person would become thirsty and would subsequently order more to drink. As they say, “There is no such thing as a free drink!” The cheap nuts made you spend more money.

As for the grandparents, they had a small bowl of candy and a small bowl of mixed nuts. As a kid, you would occasionally see an adult pick up a few nuts and raisins to snack on and the kids waited impatiently to be offered a boiled sweet and a pat on the head.

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The new image

The old image still exists, it certainly hasn’t gone away although it may have become more sophisticated with the variety of nuts changing. Peanuts still remain the dominant player in the market but not as significantly as in the past. However, many younger people have started to buy nuts as a lifestyle snack. They are starting to shun the chocolate bars, pretzels and potato chips in the favor of nuts and dried fruits, be they in raw form, mixed or cereal bars. What is spurring this change?

People in general have started to broaden their taste buds. They are eating more and more foods from across the globe. In many countries, especially those in the Middle East it is normal to snack on nuts and seeds at all ages. Countries such as Israel who have a strong tradition, have started to export their goodies. Green Valley, who are based in the Jezreel Valley, have been picking, roasting, drying and packaging nuts and dried fruit for a number of generations, they have jumped on this trend to export the finest products to new consumers.

Furthermore, people have become much more conscious about what they fuel their bodies with. More people than ever are turning towards a vegetarian or vegan diet. People are looking for healthier options to fuel their bodies during the day or before and after exercising. Nuts and seeds are high in dietary fiber. They are rich in phytochemicals that act as antioxidants. They are also very rich in vitamins and minerals. In essence, they are a powerhouse of goodness.

The impact on the market

The nuts, dried fruit and seed market has become much more visible and is no longer thought of as a niche market. Furthermore, the choice available both in terms of products and manufacturers has grown significantly. The global market size is expected to grow to $9.7 billion by 2028 with the biggest growth being seen in the European market where people are becoming more health conscious at a faster rate.

Can the manufacturers cope?

As people become more health conscious and continue to view nuts, seeds and dried fruit as a go-to-snack, the demand will only increase. Modern agricultural methods such as precision irrigation are helping farmers to grow trees in new places and return a greater yield. At the same time modern manufacturing and packing facilities are able to not only cope with the demand but also ensure a top quality product. So in essence, they can cope and provide the new market with top quality products.