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  • More than 1,400 Participants at the Most Attended World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress

    Jun 2nd, 2016

    The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) has celebrated the XXXV World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress in San Diego. From May 30th until today, more than 1,400 delegates have participated in the only and largest international event dedicated to the nut and dried fruit industry that this year’s edition has broken previous records of attendance.

    The INC Congress featured a stimulating three-day program to exchange knowledge, ideas and experiences. Attendees had over 16 sessions, among round tables, seminars and keynote speakers’ presentations ranging in topics from market dynamics, crops and production forecasts, agricultural and water resources, new findings in health and nutrition, and product innovations.

    Steve Junqueiro, Co-president and COO of Save Mart Supermarkets, shared his vision on the future of American supermarkets. He outlined a market featured by a more digital consumer driven by food transparency, convenience, connectivity, emotional connection and local and sustainable supply.

    By a series of 9 round tables, industry leaders provided participants with updated information on global production of different nuts and dried fruits for 2016. As it’s been stated, pistachio’s industry expects consumption to increase, as consumers are looking for more snacks. When it comes to almonds, they look for worldwide demand growing to 5 – 6 % rates, while projections for walnut consumption are also positive due to new products being launched to the market and promotions led by advertising campaigns.

    Nutrition research update

    Furthermore, the Congress has gathered distinguished scientists and nutritionists such as Prof. Jordi Salas-Salvadó (Chairman of the INC World Forum for Nutrition Research and Dissemination), Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton (Distinguished Professor of Nutrition at the Pennsylvania State University, USA) and Dr. Cesarettin Alasalvar (TÜBITAK Marmara Research Center, Turkey). Prof. Salas-Salvadó highlighted a study conducted by Tianjin Medical University, China, about nut consumption and depressive symptoms in Chinese adults. Conclusions show that “the frequency of nut consumption is independently and inversely associated with depressive symptoms”. “It is suggested -Prof. Salas-Salvadó added- that nut consumption may be beneficial to the prevention of depressive symptoms”.

    Dr. Kris-Etherton outlined the role of nuts in the new US Dietary Guidelines. Although the importance of including nuts on a regular daily habits, “younger population are not clearly meeting recommendations for nuts, seeds and soy products, so we have room to improve this situation”, Dr. Kris-Etherton affirmed. She reviewed the existing scientific evidence about the benefits of tree nuts and peanuts on health and concluded that “strong evidence suggests that consumption of nuts and peanuts decreases all-cause mortality, cardiovascular mortality, risk of diabetes in different population groups, as well as age-related increases in body weight”.

    Scientific seminar

    This year, Congress’ program included a Scientific seminar focused on agricultural and water resources. Dr. Joel Kimmelshue, from Land IQ, made an approach to the spatial mapping technology in almonds, walnuts, pistachios and dried plums. “It allows us to create a sort of fingerprint of a field”, Dr. Kimmelshue claimed. He defined applications in areas such as projection of production, projection of removal, when and where orchard change will occur or estimation of biomass accumulation, among others. Results provided by spatial mapping, Dr. Kimmelshue stated, represent a “foundational, updatable, accurate, timely, and highly informative base layer to drive much more informed decision-making”.

    Membership integrity forum

    One of the Congress’ sessions has been dedicated to assess the consequences of defaults in international trade. The INC has announced the creation of the Business Integrity Committee aimed at establishing a code of conduct for the members of the INC. Michael Waring, who chaired the Membership Integrity Forum, said that this committee has just begun to work and remarked the importance, as an initial step, “to determine the arbitration’s institutions and jurisdiction” from which it will be willing to recognize.

    Finally, several distinguished individuals and companies have been recognized by their significant contribution to the nuts and dried fruits industry. Christopher Kostow, Executive Chef of The Restaurant at Meadowood, has received the Award for Excellence in Gastronomy; Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, from Penn State University, has won the Award for Excellence in Research; The Wonderful Company has been given the Corporate Golden Nut Award, while Jack Mariani has received the Individual Golden Nut Award. Moreover, Blue Diamond Growers, with Sriracha Almonds, has won the Innovation Award highlighting the best new product introduced in the market in the last year.

    The final session has served to present the following INC Congress that will be held in Chennai, India, from 19 to 21 May 2017. In addition, the INC has confirmed that Sevilla, Spain, will host the Congress in 2018.