As market leader in the almond industry, I take pride in Blue Diamond’s performance in the 2011 crop year. Blue Diamond has continued to be the key driver of almond market demand by: pioneering efforts to develop new markets like China and India; advocating to lower all tariffs on almonds, including passing the Free Trade Agreement in South Korea, Panama and Columbia; almond product innovation in new products; and advertising to stimulate demand.
Early in my tenure as CEO at Blue Diamond, I determined that we would distinguish our cooperative’s returns from competitive handlers by accelerating growth in our value-added business and driving margin enhancement. With this focus, Blue Diamond employees know what we need to do to achieve a winning return for our growers.
In 2011, Blue Diamond achieved double-digit growth in our value-added almond business, bypassing the food industry average growth of 1 to 3 percent. Our value-added businesses have grown by 35 percent over the past two years.
In spite of the fact 2012 will not be another record almond crop, Blue Diamond is thankful for our recent investments in brand-building advertising and our new Turlock facility scheduled to open next May. We must continue to invest for the future while raising the performance bar in all aspects of our business.