The California Walnut Commission represents the California walnut industry by working with food and beverage manufacturers to find new and innovative ways to use walnuts in everything from bakery foods to confections to plant-based meat alternatives.

Ahead of their participation at the summit, we were keen to speak to Keith Seiz, Ingredient Marketing to learn more about their mission and the partnerships they are looking to kickstart at Future Food-Tech

What role do partnerships play to support your mission at the California Walnut Commission?

I feel all our relationships in the food and beverage industry are partnerships. Because we don’t sell walnuts, but instead represent the walnut industry in California, we can really work closely with food and beverage manufacturers from a perspective focused solely on finding the best outcome. That can mean everything from in-depth conversations on the functionality and nutritional attributes of walnuts to formulation assistance and brainstorming new product ideas.

You’re joining us at Future Food-Tech this March 11-12, who are you looking forward to connecting with at the summit? What new partnerships are you looking for?

I am really looking forward to engaging with the industry on what the next generation of plant-based foods is going to look like. Most food and beverage manufacturers don’t know about walnut’s ability to mimic ground beef or walnut milk’s outstanding flavor as a coffee creamer. There is so much more to walnuts than just a baking ingredient, and I’m excited about having dialogues with innovators about how clean label, whole ingredient plant-based foods are the future.

How can walnuts be used as a healthy plant-based ingredient (& whole food) as a key ingredient in novel health foods?

Walnuts are the only nut that is a significant source of ALA omega-3 fatty acids. This is crucial in products that want the nutritional benefits of omega-3s, but don’t want them from a marine source. Walnuts also contain protein, and most importantly, are an ingredient that consumers are familiar with. That’s going to be key in the future of functional foods as consumers maintain their desire for functional ingredients, but are looking for ingredient listings that they can understand.

At Future Food-Tech you’ll be joining us at the summit on the panel discussion ‘Functional Ingredients to Help Us Live Longer – and Healthier’. Why is this such an important discussion for the industry to be having? What will you be sharing with the audience?

More and more consumers are starting to turn to packaged foods to improve various aspects of their overall health, whether that’s heart, cognitive or digestive health. This is a positive trend for the food industry and humanity in general. It’s important for the food and beverage industry to develop innovative products that deliver functional benefits without the fillers.

I look forward to participating in this discussion and driving the conversation forward. I also look forward to bringing new ideas to the group. Despite people’s familiarity with walnuts, many are unaware of the versatility of the nut and its ability to be used for everything from a vegan creamer to a ground beef alternative.

Find out more:

Here from Keith at Future Food-Tech on March 11-12, he will join the panel discussion ‘Functional Ingredients to Help Us Live Longer – and Healthier’ and host a networking discussion to explore ‘Next Generation of Clean Label Plant-Based Alternatives’.