The Almond Board of California,
which represents over 6,800 growers and handlers in 'The Golden State', have released figures which show that
the UAE is now importing almost 100
million pounds of almonds a year. This makes the UAE the fifth largest export market for Californian
The UAE's amount of imports is
narrowly short of India's 124 million pounds import tally that puts the
Sub-continent giant in third place as the state's most important almond
importer. Vitally, the Board says both markets are "growing."
California produces 82% of the
globe's almonds, harvesting about 800,000 acres of the tree nut across a
400-mile stretch from northern Tehama County to southern Kern County. Almonds
are now the state's premier agricultural export with approximately 70% of its
crop selling to over 90 countries worth approximately US $4.8 billion,
according to the USA's Department of Agriculture.
With the almond's growing
popularity as a healthy snack and ingredient, the Board will mount a major
trade engagement push at next month's Gulfood exhibition - the world's largest
annual food and hospitality trade show - at Dubai World Trade Centre ( DWTC )
to court increased exports to the Middle East and Sub-continent.
At the show, which will welcome more
than 5,000 international companies from 120 countries from February 21-25, the
Board says it will "introduce ourselves to trade and food companies across
the Middle East and Africa and use it as a forum to strengthen our engagement
with trade in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka."
High on the Board's agenda will
be a bid to get Middle Eastern and Sub-continent buyers to sign up to its Trade
Stewardship programme, which focuses on sharing technical, nutrition and
consumer information with food companies looking to boost their business
through almond and almond-related product sales.
"The information we provide
gratis has helped several food companies across the world in handling,
processing and storing almonds as an ingredient for manufacturing and, of
course, as a healthy nutritious snack option," said the Board's
The Board has now identified the
Middle East as one of three "priority regions" for trade development
and is planning to launch a regional market development programme. "Our programmes
bring together the three legs of market development, namely market access,
trade stewardship and marketing," the Board spokesperson added.
In addition to the Almond Board
of California, Trixie LohMirmand, Senior Vice President, Exhibitions & Events
Management, DWTC , believes growing demand for 'health food' products is a
trend emerging across the Gulfood 2016 profile.
"There's an increasing
presence of healthy ingredients suppliers which, in some cases, even extends to
greater involvement in the region's own agricultural production. This trend
indicates the extensive public awareness campaigns implemented by regional
health authorities and providers to combat rising incidences of obesity and
diabetes are resulting in a mounting consumer demand for healthy eating
products. With consumers become more demanding, sophisticated and
wellness-aware, the domestic health food market is thriving," explained
Gulfood 2016 is expected to
attract 85,000-plus visitors from more than 170 countries including
international heads of state, ministers, government officials and national
trade associations from five continents.