Business & Real Estate

Sacramento’s Blue Diamond sets another revenue record

Seasoned Smoke House almonds on a conveyor belt at the Blue Diamond facility in Sacramento.
Seasoned Smoke House almonds on a conveyor belt at the Blue Diamond facility in Sacramento. Sacramento

Sacramento-based Blue Diamond Growers has posted another record revenue year.

Grower-owners attending the cooperative’s 105th annual meeting Wednesday in Modesto were told that global almond sales revenue totaled $1.6 billion for the year ending Aug. 28, 2015.

That’s technically the 2014 crop year, which exceeded the sales record of $1.5 billion set the previous year.

It was the fourth consecutive year that revenue topped $1 billion for the co-op’s fiscal year. Records were set each of those years.

Almond growers have benefited from a sustained, double-digit percentage boom in almond prices this year, plus strong worldwide demand for almonds.

While prices for almonds – California’s leading agricultural export – have hit record highs, Blue Diamond noted in a recent edition of the publication Almond Facts that “our recent history has been defined by drought-driven reductions in almond yields (and) almond supply shortages.”

Blue Diamond has been on a sharp growth track since the 2010 arrival of Blue Diamond President and CEO Mark Jansen, who came to Sacramento from Schwan Food Co. in Minnesota, where he was credited with boosting the firm's food-service division by marketing brands to schools, restaurants and other customers.

At Blue Diamond, Jansen immediately emphasized global branding and aggressive development of numerous new products, including its Almond Breeze nondairy beverage and nut-based crackers. High-profile marketing campaigns included TV commercials broadcast during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London and the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

Many new Blue Diamond products are developed at the 6,500-square-foot Almond Innovation Center opened in March 2013 at the cooperative's sprawling complex of buildings along C Street in downtown Sacramento.

Blue Diamond employs about 900 locally.

In mid-2013, Blue Diamond christened the first segment of its sprawling manufacturing and processing plant in Turlock.

Mark Glover: 916-321-1184, @markhglover