Blue Diamond Branded Products Lead US, Global Boom in Almond Eating

I’d like to share a great story on Blue Diamond that appeared online from the brandchannel.

Posted by Dale Buss on November 28, 2013 10:20 AM

Sales of almonds and almond products are going nuts around the world, and Blue Diamond is both driving and benefiting from the surge: Its branded consumer business in North America, for example, increased by 30 percent to $469 million in the fiscal year just ended.

Overall, at least four factors are benefiting the global almond trade even though this year’s crop was basically flat in California, which accounts for about 80 percent of global supply: good news on health, consumers’ retreat from soy milk, a rising consumption boom abroad, and Blue Diamond’s branded efforts.

Evidence continues to mount surrounding the healthful properties of nuts, such as a new study keyed by Harvard that shows a link between nut consumption and longer life. Meanwhile, as more American consumers abandon soy milk as their chief non-dairy alternative, almond-milk sales (such as Blue Diamond’s Almond Breeze line) have picked up most of the slack—and actually began outselling soy milk in overall US sales earlier this year.

China has powered the rise in almond consumption in Asia, with Chinese imports of shelled almonds almost quadrupling to 150,000 tons in the last fiscal year compared with four years ago. China is the largest export market for California almonds.

“With the growing middle class [in China] they are able to afford a lot more imported products than they used to years ago,” said Richard Waycott, president and CEO of the Almond Board of California, in a release. “It’s the same phenomenon going on to a lesser extent in India and other emerging countries where financial wealth is allowing consumers to try new things that we in the US and Europe are very used to.”

Internationally, Blue Diamond’s branded sales were up 90 percent in volume versus the prior year, with the co-op launching branded advertising on three continents for the first time: Australia and Europe in addition to North America. And in the US, Blue Diamond fielded more than 15 new products this year including Iced Coffee Almond Breezes, Artisan Nut Thins and coffee- and fruit- flavored snack almonds. Snack-almond sales alone were up by 22 percent over the prior year.

And the Almond Board, which represents California’s almond growers, expects a snapback in production gains soon to be able to feed ever-growing global demand for their product. “We expect to be producing record crops,” the board’s Waycott said, “here again in the near future.”

The article can be found online by clicking here.