Products & Applications

Products & Applications

Almond Products & Almond Applications

In 2013, Blue Diamond opened a new Almond Innovation Center, which is home to our research and development teams and is unlike any other product development facility in the almond industry. With expansive labs, proprietary development equipment, and trusted staff, it is Blue Diamond’s powerhouse of innovation. We continue to expand our application development work in confectionery, cereals, bakery, dairy, and other product categories. We collaborate closely with our customers’ research and development teams, while continuing to develop creative new ways to use almonds as ingredients. Our Almond Innovation Center is the birthplace of inspiration. It’s where we incubate new and exciting almond ingredients, as well as product applications. Think of Blue Diamond as an extension of your own research and development team.

Almond Products


Any way you slice, dice, or chop it, we have a form that’s right for your product. We produce millions of pounds of almonds annually. With so many distinct varieties and in so many different forms – the possibilities for your applications are endless!


Almond Varieties

Delicious options. Plain and simple. When your customers are enjoying almonds in their cereal, baked goods or chocolate, they’re not thinking about what kind of almonds they’re eating. Fortunately, we are. Take a look at the breadth of almond varieties from Blue Diamond.

Nonpareil

Nonpariel almond

  • The most desired whole almond
  • Preferred variety for almond snacking
  • The premium almond
  • Smooth, light skin
  • The right choice when appearance is essential

Carmel (California Type)

Carmel almond

  • Consistent for color and shape
  • Alternate for Nonpareil
  • Smooth skin
  • Ideal for blanching and roasting
  • Limited availability

Monterey (California type)

Monterey variety

  • Consistent for color, shape, and blanchability
  • Ideal ingredient use
  • Flatter profile, long, narrow shape
  • Alternate for Nonpareil
  • Available in larger sizes

California

California almond variety

  • Highly blanchable
  • Wider range of shapes and colors
  • Economical choice for blanching
  • Includes a number of sub-varieties
  • Wide range of CPO’s

Butte (California type)

Butte almond

  • More rounded shape than other varieties
  • Ideal for use in applications desiring bite size almonds
  • Great for inclusions in chocolates
  • Highly blanchable
  • Robust flavor
  • Wrinkled skin which holds seasoning well

Mission

Mission almond

  • Similar to Butte, but not blanchable
  • Small kernels
  • Deep flavor notes
  • Wrinkled skin which holds seasoning well

Back to top.^


Almond Forms

Slivered or sliced—our almonds are always in good form. But knowing which ones will be best for your formulations is a tough nut to crack. Do you go with a small or medium dice? Whole or split? And how will those decisions affect your sales? We can help you identify solutions that keep your bottom line and your consumers happy.

Blanched Whole

Blanched whole almond
Available in Large and Medium

Blanched Split

Blanched Split Almonds

Blanched Sliced

Blanched Sliced Almonds
Available in Thick, Standard, Thin and X-thin

Blanched Slivered

Blanched Slivered Almonds
Available in Standard and Thin

Blanched Diced Small

Blanched Diced Almonds

Blanched Meal

Blanched Meal

Blanched Almond Paste

Blanched Almond Paste

Almond Butter

Almond Butter

Available in Honey Almond Butter and Natural Almond Butter

Inshell

Inshell almond

Whole Natural

Whole natural almonds

Oil Roasted Whole

Oil Roasted Whole Almond

Dry Roasted Whole

Dry Roasted Whole Almonds

Sliced Natural

Sliced Natural Almonds
Available in Thick, Standard, Thin and X-Thin

Natural or Roasted Diced

Natural or Roasted Diced
Available in Large, Medium and Small

Natural Flakes Small

Natural Flakes Small

Natural Meal Fine

Natural meal

Back to top.^


Almond USDA Grades

Quality counts…the United States Department of Agriculture maintains strict standards and grades for California Almonds—and we couldn’t agree more. At Blue Diamond we believe you must have quality almonds for your formulations. Not only to meet the USDA standards, but to exceed yours.

USDA Grades Whole Kernels Minimum Diameter Dissimilar Doubles Chip & Scratch Foreign Material Particles & Dust Split & Broken Other Defects Serious Defects Under Size
U.S. Fancy  -  -  5%  3%  5%  .05%  .1%  1%  2%  1%  -
U.S. Extra No. 1  -  -  5%  5%  5%  .05%  .1%  1%  4%  1.5%  -
U.S. No. 1 (Supreme)*  -  -  5%  15% 10%  .05%  .1%  1%  5% 1.5%  -
U.S. Select Sheller Run  -  -  5% 15%  20%  .1%  .1%  5%  3%  2%  -
U.S. Standard Sheller Run  -  -  5%  25%  35%  .2%  .1%  15%  3%  2%  -
U.S. No. 1 Whole & Broken  30%  20/4 UOS  5%  35%  x  .2%  .1%  x  5%  3%  5%
U.S. No. 1 Pieces  x  8/64  x  x  x  2%   .1%  x  5%  3%  5%

* U.S. No. 1 is commonly referred to as Supreme by the industry. However, Supreme is not a USDA grade.

Understanding USDA Grades

U.S. Fancy The highest grade—typically appropriate for products where the visual appeal of the almond is critical to the application. This grade is not widely used.
U.S. Extra No. 1 Similar to U.S. Fancy—ideal for food applications where the appearance of the almond is very important.
U.S. No. 1 (Supreme) Typically used to whole almond applications or for further processing such as blanching and roasting.
U.S. Select Sheller Run Mid-quality grade—good choice for applications where the almonds with minimal sorting/processing can be incorporated with other ingredients; for example, inside a confectionery product and where a higher level of chipped and scratched kernels is accepted. Also appropriate for further processing such as blanching, grinding, roasting, dicing, and slicing.
U.S. Standard Sheller Run Good grade for further processing such as blanching, dicing, grinding, or paste, particularly where a higher level of split and broken kernels is not a concern.
Back to top.^


Almond Life Cycle

Reap from what Blue Diamond sows. California produces over 80% of the world’s almonds. And over half of California’s almond growers are members of our cooperative—maintaining the highest standards of responsible farming practices since 1910. See what happens season–to–season until the moment when mature almonds become Blue Diamond almonds.

Januaryarrow
Dormantarrow
Rain/Frost/Wind Considerations
Februaryarrow
Bloom
Marcharrow
Bloom
Aprilarrow
Crop Management
Mayarrow
Crop Managementarrow
Subjective Estimate
Junearrow
Crop Management, Nut Maturityarrow
Objective Estimate
Julyarrow
Hull Splits & Dries, Early Harvest
Augustarrow
Hull Splits & Dries, Early Harvest
Septemberarrow
Peak Harvest
Octoberarrow
Completion Harvestarrow
Heavy Shipments
Novemberarrow
Leaf Fall
Decemberarrow
Dormant

Almond Applications


From cereals to baked goods and more, when you add Blue Diamond almonds you deliver texture, flavor, quality, crunch, and nutritional value. No matter what kind of product you’re developing, we know how to give your formulations a delicious focal point or an indispensable side note. Just add almonds!


ConfectionsChocolate with almonds

Blue Diamond can partner with you to formulate your confectionary products for maximum success in the marketplace. We start by asking the right questions about size, forms, and flavor pairing. Then, we leverage our extensive R&D expertise to help you create the optimal combination.

Here are a few of the reasons you should consider adding almonds to your confections:

  • 70% of consumers are more inclined to buy chocolate bars with almonds than without.
  • Consumers rated almonds as the nut that best fits in both milk and dark chocolate.
  • 75% of consumers worldwide believe chocolate with almonds is nutritious.
  • Consumers believe almonds are the nut that best delivers nutrition in chocolate products.
  • Almonds outperform all other nuts on the top four attributes consumers seek in a chocolate bar.
  • 70% of consumers worldwide state they are more likely to buy chocolate with almonds versus chocolate without.
  • When asked what they would like to eat with their chocolate, 41% of consumers said almonds.
Forms Whole Diced Sliced Splits Natural Blanched Oil Roasted Dry Roasted Paste Almond Butter
Chocolate Bars and Candy dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot
Pan Candy dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot
Flavored Almonds dot dot dot dot dot dot
Brittle dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot
Coatings for Log Rolls dot dot dot dot
Enrobed Chocolate dot dot dot dot dot dot
Marzipan Bars and Molds dot dot
Nut-Filled Centers dot dot dot dot dot dot dot dot

 

Benefits Texture Crunch Flavor Toppings Healthy Pairings Visual Appeal Healthy Snack
Chocolate Bars and Candy  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot
Pan Candy  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot
Flavored Almonds  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot
Brittle  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot
Coatings for Log Rolls  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot
Enrobed Chocolate  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot
Marzipan Bars and Molds  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot
Nut-Filled Centers  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot  dot

Back to top.^


Cereals

Cereal with almond clustersConsumers have already made almonds the #1 preferred nut in cereals. But don’t stop there. Are you getting the maximum contribution from your almond ingredient? Do the almond form and variety ensure the perfect mouth-feel? Are they complementing the desired application? We have the expertise to help you answer those questions.

Here are a few good reasons to add almonds to your cereals:

  • Almonds are North Americans’ most preferred and most consumed nut at breakfast.
  • In a recent survey, almonds were the #1 ingredient that North American health- and food-involved consumers envisioned in their “ideal” cereal.
  • Almonds outscore other nuts on two key attributes consumers say they are looking for when choosing breakfast products: “Is tasty and nutritious” and “Fills me up until lunch.”1

1Breakfast Outlook Report, Sterling-Rice Group, 2009.

Back to top.^


Food Bars

Welcome to one of the fastest-rising food trends worldwide: The U.S. snack and cereal bar industry accounts for approximately half of the food bars sold worldwide. The category, in the U.S., is forecasted to surpass $8 billion in revenue by 2017.1 Consumers are eating more frequent meals throughout the day, choosing guilt-free snacking and eating on-the-go for both health and convenience.

Almonds provide:

Almond food bar diagram
1Source: Euromonitor, Feb. 2014
Back to top.^


BakeryAlmonds used in cakes, cookies and macroons.

Almonds are always “value-added” when it comes to consumer favorites in baked goods. Their flavor, crunch and nutrition have made them the #1 nut globally for new bakery products. And artisanal baked goods that include almonds account for 50% of bakery sales in the U.S., whether it’s sliced almonds on Danish or almond paste in croissants.

Furthermore, almonds are playing a leading role in the increasing trend toward gluten-free products. While celiac disease affects about 1% of the U.S. population, it’s estimated that as many as 10% have some sort of gluten sensitivity. The $10.5 billion gluten-free retail food and beverage category grew 44% from 2011 to 2013 as awareness of these conditions increased. And three-quarters of gluten-free consumers don’t even have a sensitivity, but still believe that eating gluten-free is a healthier lifestyle.

Almonds are inherently gluten-free and may be processed into various forms, including flours and meals. With its neutral flavor and pale color, almond flour is able to maintain hydration, making it ideal for a range of batters. With a consistency similar to corn meal, it can also be substituted for bread crumbs in coating chicken, fish or in quick-breads such as muffins, fruit and nut breads, even pancakes.

Here are a few more reasons to use almonds in your baked goods:

  • Almonds are the only nut that drives strong usage across desserts, salads, sandwiches, entrees, and bakery.
  • Artisanal products account for 50% of retail bakery sales volume in the U.S.
  • Consumers are willing to pay more for traditional and specialty products with almonds.

Back to top.^


YogurtAlmond pieces in yogurt

Greek yogurt is another food trend that’s on the rise in popularity. “Mix-ins” such as almonds, granola, or fruit add value with increased flavor and texture. Consumers love the contrast of creamy yogurt with crispy, crunchy textures, and mouth-feel plays a major role in shoppers’ purchasing decisions. Almonds are the perfect partner in this market, with a versatility in form from sliced, diced, split, chopped and natural flakes. They can provide a satisfying crunch within the product, or as a topping, coating, or crust.

Back to top.^


SnacksOlives stuffed with almonds

Over the last decade, almonds have entered and dominated the growing snack industry. Once word got out about the major health benefits – combined with their irresistible crunch and flavor – almonds began appearing across the entire snack category. They are always the nut mentioned first by consumers in relation to snacks. And they’re so versatile – from plain almonds for snacking to flavored almonds in salad toppings, trail mixes, and more, this nut does it all.

A few more facts about almonds and snacks:

  • In North America, almonds are the leading nut introduced in new snacks.
  • In North America, almond product dollar sales for granola bars make up 33% share of the total category.
  • Almonds are the top nut described by global consumers as satisfying.
  • Beginning in 2011, almonds were the top nut for first mentions in top-of-mind awareness, and in Europe almonds moved up from third position to second.
  • Almonds are first in consumer preference for coatings on ice cream bars.

Back to top.^


Everyday

Almond pesto on toasted bread.
No matter what your product or application, chances are good that it will be enhanced by the addition of almonds in one of their many forms. From breakfast to a late-night snack, almonds are the value-adding ingredient that can “plus” your product.

Just a few ideas:

  • Upgrading plain rice to pilaf with slivered almonds.
  • Adding a crunch to Asian salads.
  • Giving texture to ice cream or yogurt.
  • Making your cereal tastier.
  • Garnishing your baked goods.
  • Transforming string beans into beans almandine.
  • Increasing the nutritional value of your health bars.
  • Converting your product to gluten-free.
  • Enhancing your chocolate bar with taste and texture.