“Every major innovation in almonds has come from Blue Diamond,” explained Blue Diamond President and CEO, Mark Jansen, at the opening of the 6,500-square-foot Almond Innovation Center. “As a result, we are expanding our Sacramento headquarters to include the world’s only research center dedicated to designing cutting-edge almond products.”
Blue Diamond, a cooperative owned by over half of the state’s almond growers, expects to increase new almond product sales growth five-fold over the next five years. “The new facility will be a showcase for initiating new almond product concepts for our consumer business and for the most innovative global food companies,” added Jansen.
The success of Blue Diamond’s investment in new snack products broke all sales records in the North American market in 2012. While Blue Diamond’s snack almond business grew 21 percent, the Almond Breeze Aseptic Milk business jumped 21 percent and chilled Almond Milk sales skyrocketed 59 percent. Nut Thins cracker sales rose 28 percent. New snack products introduced early in 2013 include Roasted Coffee, Mocha and Caramel Macchiato flavored almonds, and three fruit-inspired flavors, Raspberry, Blueberry and Strawberry.
Likewise in the global ingredients business where almonds are used in a variety of foods, sales increased 35 percent and almonds remained in first place as the leading nut in new food products worldwide. Value-added revenues over the last two years are up 69 percent.
“Global almond product innovation has doubled Blue Diamond revenues in three years to well over $1 billion in sales,” said Jansen. “The robustness of U.S. almond shipments, even with this year’s short supply, is directly attributable to new uses for almonds that our cooperative has created."
Blue Diamond received the Powering Innovation Capstone Award at SACTO’s annual Salute to New Industry luncheon. The Capstone Awards recognize and celebrate leadership and excellence in driving growth and prosperity in the Sacramento Region.
The 2 billion-pound California almond crop is valued at $6 billion and generates nearly 50,000 jobs. New jobs and additional revenue will be returned to almond growing communities as production and value-added products continue to grow. Over 80 percent of the world’s supply is grown in California. Almonds are the state’s largest food export and the largest specialty crop export in America.