Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Blue Diamond Says Confidence Key to Future Market Stability

Magazine article Rural Cooperatives

Blue Diamond Says Confidence Key to Future Market Stability

Article excerpt

Building and maintaining market confidence is key to maintaining California almond industry success, according to Blue Diamond President and CEO Doug Youngdahl. Record industry almond shipments in 2007-08 exceeded the previous year by 18 percent, helping Blue Diamond achieve record sales of $711 million, Youngdahl told the cooperative's grower-owners at their 98th annual meeting.

Total global consumption rose by 50 percent in the Middle East; 32 percent in Eastern Europe; 24 percent in Western Europe; 20 percent in Asia; and 7 percent in the United States, the largest single almond market. California almonds are the state's largest food export valued at nearly $3 billion.

Blue Diamond's share of the record 2007-08 crop grew faster than the industry as a whole, allowing the cooperative to meet its tonnage objective ahead of schedule. The co-op also gained in market share. Its branded retail business has doubled in three years, tripled in five years and quadrupled in six years.

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"Our Blue Diamond brand has driven U.S. snack nut business growth over the last six years, averaging over 25 percent [growth] annually," Youngdahl said. "With 21 percent of all meals being labeled as snacks, snacking is fast becoming America's 'fourth meal' of the day," he adds.

Blue Diamond's natural foods business is also booming, with Almond Breeze leading the non-dairy almond milk sales category. The 2007 sales for Almond Breeze increased by 32 percent compared to the previous year. A new refrigerated line of almond milk products is expected to add to this success in 2009. …

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