Blue Diamond, which is the world's largest almond marketer and processor, has seen demand from China rocket in recent years said Bill Morecraft, general manager of the firm’s global ingredient division.
“Blue Diamond’s Global Ingredient Division pioneered bringing almonds to China nearly 40 years ago. Since then, China has grown to be the largest importer of almonds in the world.
“Shipments to China, for the 2011 crop year through June, have reached nearly 230 million pounds, 41% over last year.”
Under the deal, Bian Zhenhu, president of the China Chamber of Commerce for The Import and Export of Foodstuffs, Native Produce and Animal By-Products, Beijing, China, and Blue Diamond’s Bill Morecraft signed a memorandum of understanding for Chinese companies to buy at least $50m of Blue Diamond almonds (in-shell or kernels destined as ingredients for snacking or use in manufacturing) in the next year.
Ingredients sales have increased by 50% in the past two years
Blue Diamond, which is building a multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art monster almond processing facility in Turlock, California to meet growing demand, turned over $825m last year and is on course to break the $1bn sales barrier in the next two-to-three years should current trends continue.
A lot of this growth is coming from China, which has emerged from nowhere to become a huge customer of almond products, Morecraft told this publication earlier this year.
“I think when we first saw this explosive growth, some people thought it was a fad, or that it couldn’t be real, but it has just continued to grow and grow.”
Almonds are California's largest food export and they rank among the top ten food exports in America.
Click here to see our video interview with Bill Morecraft at the IFT show in Las Vegas.
Click here to read our recent interview with Bill about the firm’s new processing facility.
Click here to read about new research suggesting almonds may have fewer calories than previously thought.