IN Food Marketing & Design got a little nutty last week during our roasted salted almond brand test. We were convinced all almonds are NOT created equal and put three different brands to the test:
Blue Diamond looked the most smooth and oiled. All the flavors were stronger—they tasted the saltiest, nuttiest and the most roasted. They were the darkest in color and we suspect they were roasted the longest of the three. The packaging is very functional: a re-closeable aluminum can is great for storage and can be recycled. We also liked that they touted their health benefits on the label and were certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food. There were a few people on our team who wanted to award Blue Diamond Almonds the blue ribbon, but they were outnumbered.
CVS almonds were smaller than the other two brands with more uniform shapes. These almonds were driest and had weaker flavors than Blue Diamond or Trader Joe’s. They weren’t that bad, but they weren’t anyone’s favorite either. We also didn’t love their packaging. It looks distinctly private label and dated, but they get points for being resealable.
Trader Joe’s roasted, salted almonds tasted delicious and looked more natural with the skin cracked and peeling in places. Our team was split between thinking this made them look more appetizing and authentic vs. old and dried out; we eventually agreed to disagree. It really depends on what you think an almond should look like. Which leads us to the packaging, because unlike CVS and Blue Diamond, you can see the product. However, since the almond’s appearance was a sticking point on our team, we’re not sure this is an advantage. The thin plastic bag feels more economy grade than the delicious product inside and while its lighter to transport, it can’t be recycled or reclosed. The design doesn’t make it stand out on the shelf, either.
Overall, Trader Joe’s roasted the IN crew’s favorite almonds. Oh, and if you aren’t delighted by their appearance, you will still be delighted by their taste.