Packing protein and fiber, almonds are a healthy and tasty inclusion with tremendous value in baked goods. The success of this ingredient across product categories can partially be attributed to its texture versatility. The creaminess and contrasting smoothness of almond butter is a natural fit for spreads, whereas sliced or chopped almonds add crunch to a growing desserts and ice cream category. To satisfy an increased demand for gluten-free and healthy indulgence options, almond flour is often utilized as a key ingredient.

Charice Grace, manager, trade marketing & stewardship at the Almond Board of California, speaks to how this nut can be included in baked goods.

Is there anything trending in terms of what bakers are using almonds for? Describe the role almonds play as a topping and as an inclusion.

Charice Grace: According to Tastewise’s AI-driven social media, recipe and menu data from March 2024, popular diets and nutrients in posts discussing almonds include gluten free, sugar-free, high protein, fiber and healthy fat.

Almonds are being leveraged as a key ingredient in limited editions or portfolio extensions that broaden alternative dietary options, according to a 2023 report from Innova Market Insights. Almond ingredients are being substituted in place of traditional ingredients to provide plant-based versions of products that don’t compromise on enjoyment or nutrition. Tastewise ingredient data from February 2023-February 2024 supports this, reporting that almond flour and almond milk are the almond ingredients with the highest social share of mentions in posts about baked foods, followed by almond butter, almond paste, almond slivers and almond oil.

What are some ways that almonds can be used as an ingredient to make products stand out?

Consumers are expecting more added value from their purchases, and bakery launches are answering the call with more functional health and dietary accommodations. California almonds are a versatile inclusion that tastes great while meeting personal and planetary health needs. Almonds are a simple, whole food ingredient with over 14 ingredient forms providing a medley of sensory experiences. From slivered almonds to diced almonds and almond butter, each ingredient can add visual appeal and signal a product’s textural experience.

How are bakers using almond flour as a gluten-free alternative?

Almond flour is a light and wholesome alternative to other flours, suited in gluten-free baking as a base, coating or crust. Because almond flour is gluten-free, there are some important properties to consider when using it as an alternative flour. Manufacturers should pair almond flour with complementary flours, starches and gums to recreate the texture and structure that consumers expect from wheat-based formulas. Almond flour tends to retain more moisture compared to traditional flour, which delays baked items from drying out as quickly and makes the final product more tender.