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  • US (CA): Almonds are vital to California

    Jul 23rd, 2015

    With a projected production of 1.80 billion pounds, this year’s California almond production forecast is down four percent from last year’s crop. “Almonds are vital to the state of California,” says Stacey Humble with the Almond Board of California. “The state’s Central Valley is the only place in the US and one of the only places in the world to effectively grow almonds with its Mediterranean climate and particular soil. As a result, California grows 80 percent of the world’s almonds and 99 percent of almonds enjoyed in the U.S.” According to the University of California Agricultural Issues Center, the almond industry contributes more than 100,000 jobs and $11 billion in economic value to California.

    Two-thirds of California almonds are exported

    “Almonds are consumed domestically, but are an important export product as well,” mentioned Humble. “Close to two-thirds of California almond production is exported and the world looks to California as the leader for high quality almonds with a track record of consistent, reliable supply.” Top destinations after the domestic market are Western Europe and Asia-Pacific. The table below gives an overview of domestic distribution as well as the top ten export destinations for California almonds.

    Almond exports 2013-2014


    Volume (in million pounds)

    United States   642

    Spain  193

    China / Hong Kong  145

    Germany  127

    India  102

    United Arab Emirates  86

    Japan  76

    South Korea  53

    Italy   53

    Turkey  53

    The Netherlands  45

    “Emerging markets are increasingly seeking convenient, nutritious dietary solutions to add into their fast-paced lifestyles,” said Humble. “Some countries with potential for increased demand for almonds include Brazil, Mexico, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia.”

    Impact of California drought

    “Drought and water stress can impact almond tree growth and crop productivity for a 2-4 year period after the stress subsides,” commented Humble. “Growers in some areas are impacted more than others, but overall almond growers continue to strive to meet expanding global demand for almonds while coping with water shortages in the fourth year of the California drought.”

    30 different varieties

    “There are approximately 30 almond varieties produced in California orchards,” mentioned Humble. The majority falls into one of the following three major classifications: Nonpareil, California and Mission.

    •           Nonpareil is the most popular with the widest range of applications and are used anywhere a strong almond identification is important

    •           California type almonds are generally blanchable and used           primarily in manufactured products

    •           Mission type almonds have a rich flavor, and their kernels are       small, wide, and often plump. Blanching is not as common.