Overcoming Adversity Through Commitment and Innovation

History has shown the resilience of our growers, our trees, and the almond itself. Orchards have endured periods of drought and disease and very recently found themselves literally under water. California weather has always been unpredictable. The recent heavy rainfall presented a new set of challenges. The wet conditions kept many growers out of their orchards, high winds wreaked havoc on trees, and the unwillingness of bees to brave the elements caused concern for pollination. But, despite the stormy weather, bloom progressed. It is far too early to develop any estimate for the 2017 crop. Although strengthening, market prices indicate reduced expectations for a barn buster crop. We pray that almonds will continue to be as resilient as the California farmers that grow them.

The great strength of a cooperative is the organization’s ability to insulate against crop and market adversity. Our innovative marketing continues to build consumer affection for our brands. For the first time, we ran a TV spot during the Annual GRAMMY Awards sharing our snack nut brand’s ability to bring people together and inspire the country and the world “to love one another right now”. It illustrated the powerful ability of Blue Diamond snack almonds to be shared with loved ones, friends, and strangers alike. It achieved our goal to expand our connection with a younger female demographic, a key consumer of Blue Diamond’s products. The GRAMMY Awards fit a unique category of television, whereby consumers make time to watch it “live” so they can share the experience immediately with others through digital media or the next day around the watercooler at work.

Pictured: Suzanne Hagener, Senior Marketing Manager for Beverages, and Al Greenlee, Marketing Director, Global Consumer Division.

Blue Diamond Growers take their passion, commitment and generations of experience, and produce the highest quality product upon harvest. So, it made sense for our Almond Breeze marketing team to capitalize on this unique advantage. By now, I hope you have seen the new Almond Breeze commercial, The Best Almonds Make the Best Almond milk. Recently, at the annual meeting luncheon the National Council of Farmer Cooperatives honored Blue Diamond’s commercial its highest award in the “Best of Show” category. With a bit of irony, the CEO of the dairy company, Land O’Lakes, who is the current Chairman of NCFC, made the presentation. We know our Almond Breeze almond milk is loved by consumers and this industry recognition affirms Blue Diamond’s value as the largest, best marketer and processor of almonds in the world.

Bringing our brands to life can take many forms and digital media can broaden reach and impact with consumers. The Almond Breeze brand team hosted “Orchard Experience 2017” for several food bloggers and print media from Japan, Canada, and around the U.S. The experience touched all the senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, and more. Grower member Mike Doherty and family hosted the experience at their orchard in Arbuckle and were joined by Membership Director Mel Machado to educate on almond lifecycle, bloom and bees, stewardship management and harvest equipment. A Sacramento chef prepared almond-inspired snacks and lunch. To complete the experience, several visual elements were placed amongst the orchard to highlight the Blue Diamond story. Grower families were proudly displayed on the side of the barn, a memory tree with old photos brought the history of the co-op to life, and hanging wooden picture frames offered a scenic opportunity for a bloom “selfie.” Event attendees agreed this was the best “on farm” experience and we look forward to their retelling of the “Orchard Experience 2017” on their respective digital sites.

While we are proud of these achievements, the future is even brighter. We will continue to develop innovative products and marketing strategies. With our ongoing support of membership, the Blue Diamond team will persist in looking for opportunities that bring added value and connect with growers and influencers worldwide to share our story.

For more highlights, read the latest issue of Almond Facts at www.almondfacts.com.