All three plants, at Sacramento, Salida and Turlock, will be upgraded under the current plans, but the group’s primary brown almond plant at Salida will be the first to benefit with the addition of a 58,000 sq ft storage unit, said Salida plant manager, Darrell Nelson.
“The industry is expecting 20% growth in almond acreage in the state over the next few years, as demand grows in major markets, including North America, China, India and the EU,” he said.
“The expansion will improve efficiency and reduce waiting times in order to meet the needs of our grower-owners as well as customers.”
The 44-acre site currently consists of four warehouses, covering an area of 90,000 sq ft, and processes approximately seven million pounds of almonds per day, but growers often experience long delays.
The new unit will increase storage capacity by 60 million pounds, relieving the pressure on existing facilities and enabling the plant to seamlessly adjust as production and demand grows, says Nelson.
“The intention is to get the trucks on and off our property quicker, while at the same time preserving product quality to meet the expectations of customers who source Extra No. 1 and Supreme grade almonds.”
Optimize quality and efficiency
Nelson explained that the new warehouse will feature construction techniques to optimize product quality and enhance grower delivery speeds.
The design includes energy efficient lighting, roof-mounted in-feed conveyors to gently transport almonds into storage and 26-degree sloping floors to allow product to naturally flow into underground outbound conveyors, he said.
“The warehouse will be state-of-the-art in design, providing gentle handling, food safety and added flexibility,” said Nelson.
“Other added benefits are the addition of another receiving pit, gentle handling and automation providing increased quality control protection of the product and improved, safer truck routes through the facility.”
In addition, prefabricated materials will be used to expedite the whole construction process, with an expected completion date this autumn, he added.
The Salida plant is one of the group’s primary processing plants that produces raw materials for Sacramento manufacturing and Turlock manufacturing, for export in over 90 countries.
Blue Diamond manufactures branded added-value products such as Almond Breeze almond milk, flavored and natural snack nuts and Nut Thins crackers as well as a variety of added-value ingredients like sliced, diced, blanched and almond flour for other major food companies’ products such as cereals and confectionery.