The firm said the reason is that hazelnuts are “abundantly used” in chocolate.
“Chocolate manufacturers are re-introducing their signature products with hazelnut-incorporated product lines, which are emerging as an innovation in taste in the global confectionery market.
“From the overall consumption, 90% of hazelnuts are used in confectionery as a side-ingredient in chocolate, biscuits and sweets… Many hazelnut products are the bestsellers of chocolatiers are such Mondelēz, Nestlé, Hershey, Ferrero and many more,” it said.
Some of the other top confectionery players operating in the hazelnut market also include Barry Callebaut and Olam Cocoa, added PMR.
Demand for healthy ingredients
Tree nuts overall have been an important healthy ingredient with a high consumer demand, according to PMR.
It said: “Nearly two-thirds of the global population have cut down on certain foods or ingredients as per their taste preferences, allergies, age, diet or religion.
This preference of consumers motivates food and beverage manufacturers to come up with a wide range of products incorporating healthy nutrients.”
“Hazelnut properties such as high oleic acid, amino acid, vitamin A, folate content, magnesium, calcium and potassium is boosting adoption among consumers,” added PMR.
Asia Pacific registers high growth
While the Middle East and Africa will remain the largest market for hazelnut through 2026, accounting for 40.7% of total market share, Asia Pacific is expected to register high growth rates during the forecasted period, according to PMR.
“The demand for hazelnut based products is increasing at a robust growth rate in Asia Pacific owing to the rise in disposable income and increased westernization in eating habits of the people especially in the developing countries of APEJ (Asia Pacific excluding Japan) such as India and China,” said market researchers.
“The urban population [in these regions] is more inclined towards ready-to-eat food as they prefer packaged meals with high nutrition content.”
Nuts have been a star ingredient in most festive dishes, especially sweets, noted PMR.
“Chocolatiers re-launch their products during the festive seasons with a fusion of traditional and Western styles, generally with luxury nuts incorporated into chocolates. This is boosting the demand for hazelnuts in the APAC market,” it said.