MODESTO, Calif.—Driven by demand for value-added almond products, Blue Diamond Growers’ fiscal year 2011-12 sales soared to a record $1 billion with 2-year growth of $300 million, according to President and CEO Mark Jansen who addressed the cooperative’s grower-owners at their 102nd annual meeting.
“We are winning in the marketplace by executing our superior business model, enhancing margins and growing our value-added businesses," Jansen said. “We added $13 million in savings to the $14 million we achieved last year, and we will continue to invest in new technologies that will lower costs and increase processing yields for higher levels of profitability year after year."
Blue Diamond Chairman Clinton Shick said they received record payments on the 2011 crop of $670 million for a return that was 18 cents per pound higher than on the 2010 crop. Revenue per acre also exceeded the previous 2005 record by 19%.
Blue Diamond will open Phase 1 of its new 88-acre Turlock plant in May 2013 and hire up to 100 employees. This will bring incremental capacity to the organization, which already has the world’s largest existing almond processing facilities in Sacramento and Salida.
Adding processing capabilities to Blue Diamond’s existing operations is part of a plan to expand its brand globally. The strategy is already paying off as the cooperative’s global value-added ingredient business leaped 69% over the last two years and global consumer-branded businesses increased 45%.
The opening of Blue Diamond’s Almond Innovation Center at its Sacramento headquarters in early 2013 will increase the speed of innovation and lower the cost of creating new products. Experts will be working with the world’s largest food companies to include almonds in their new product formulations.