Blue Diamond opens Salida plant expansion with modern pasteurization tech

By Kristine Sherred contact

- Last updated on GMT

Blue Diamond has added several branded products to its portfolio in recent years, including these Almond & Fruit trail mixes. Pic: Blue Diamond Growers
Blue Diamond has added several branded products to its portfolio in recent years, including these Almond & Fruit trail mixes. Pic: Blue Diamond Growers

Related tags: Almond, Almond board, almond protein, Almond milk, Almonds, Snacks, energy bars, Gluten-free, keto, Manufacturing

The almond processor held an opening ceremony for the expansion of its now-52,000-square-foot facility in September, which houses an integrated line for processing whole nuts and dry roasting.

Construction on this project started in May of 2016. The new space helps Blue Diamond stay ahead of evolving food safety standards, especially in value-added business, the company told BakeryandSnacks.

Upgrades include several energy-saving elements, such as LED lighting, a multi-staged HVAC system and temperature controls. The expansion also features separate, electronically controlled rooms to ensure that conditions are apt for food safety protocols.

Integrated processing lines will ease transport of almonds from cold storage to the shipping room, which Blue Diamond said will ‘greatly reduce material handling and trucking costs.’

Underground, perforated pipe will retain stormwater for ‘recharging’ ground water to improve the soil.

The space will also handle increased flour production: “The almond flour category continues to be very dynamic,”​ a spokesperson told us, noting growing consumer interest in gluten-free and keto-friendly foods.

The company launched a branded flour in Sam’s Club in 2018 and is currently expanding distribution to other major retailers. The upgraded Salida manufacturing site will “ensure Blue Diamond is well-positioned to meet consumer demand in this category.”

Prepping for more almond snacks, flours

Importantly, the expansion was built specifically to support future additions, according to the Sacramento, California-based company.

Blue Diamond also broke ground on a receiving warehouse – the world’s largest for almonds – this summer.

“It’s an exciting time for Blue Diamond as we continue to invest in our facilities here in Salida and across the Central Valley to better meet the growing demand for our products worldwide,”​ said president and CEO Mark Jansen.

At least 80% of the world’s almonds are grown in California, as the popular nut reaches into snacking and dairy categories. The Almond Board of California told us in June at IFT that almond butter, ice cream and dairy alternatives are the three fastest growing areas for almonds​. In dairy, for instance, it’s more than milk: now the industry has developed almond-based yogurt, cheese and spreads.

Meanwhile, snack bars have incorporated almond butter rather than peanut, and salty snacks (like these almond puffs from A’Mond​) have begun using almond flour. The nut has found new outlets in candy, too, with Snickers launching an almond butter version of its classic peanut-nougat chocolate bar in 2019.

Blue Diamond has likewise grown its footprint in the snack sector, introducing a trail mix line called Almond & Fruit in May.

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