Plenty of upside in the almond market The woman responsible to selling California’s almonds to the world believes she has only started scratching the surface of demand potential. Global Marketing Manager, Shirley Horn, reports that the Almond Board of California (ABC) has just completed the first year of a bold new plan to make almonds the nut of choice across all major markets – which takes in North America, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, China and India. “We have set ourselves two goals – to be the crop of choice on the production side and the nut of choice on the demand side. “They are both tall orders, but that’s where we are heading.” California produces 1.8 billion pounds of almonds a year, which represents 80% of the world crop. New plantings are set to increase that yield in the years ahead and Mrs Horn and her team have devised a multi-faceted marketing strategy to ensure they maintain the delicate balance between supply and demand. “I am very optimistic about the upside potential of our industry,” she said. “Although we export 70% of our crop, the fact remains that if every North American in our target market – which is 51% of the population - ate an ounce of almonds a day, it would take our entire production to supply them.” Mrs Horn is realistic enough to acknowledge that isn’t going to happen tomorrow, especially in the current
economic turmoil within the USA. “We are facing difficult times and it may reach the point where all discretionary food spending may be cut. Now I don’t think it will get to that, but we should never put all our eggs in one basket. “That’s why we need to focus on all our markets and identify the challenges and threats we may encounter so we can be prepared and anticipate market changes.” Observations form Shirley Horn It’s not all about a healthy eating Almonds are perceived as a premium nut and that is where the ABC will focus a lot of its marketing energy. “People all over the world – no matter what the economic conditions are – aspire to be more affluent. “They aspire to be more premium, they aspire to be seen to be able to afford the nice things as life. And almonds are seen in almost all of our markets as a premium nut. “We want to keep that. “The challenge is going to be as we have recessions and depressions happening and whatever, to get people to continue to choose almonds even though they may carry premium price. “Our challenge in the current economic crisis is to promote almonds as an essential indulgence.” Creating a sensual experience Marrying almonds with dark chocolate will be a key plank in the
American marketing campaign.
“Our research is telling us that we need to make an emotional connection with consumers. By combining with chocolate we want to create an extra-sensory experience. People have an emotional attachment to chocolate already, so that’s what we are going for.” Crunchability the key The ‘crunchability’ of an almond is one of the most constant attributes that consumers talk about. “Our research has shown that a strong element of the taste is the crunch. Those who love almonds refer to the ‘crunch’ time and time again. “It seems to preserve its crunch when you marry it with things like ice cream, where other nuts absorb moisture more easily and lose something. “Obviously ‘crunchability’ and the sensual side of almonds in chocolate are sub-conscious thoughts and it is our job to start talking them up and bring them into the consciousness so consumers can pinpoint why they love almonds over other nuts.”
Dr Penny Whetton, Research Group Leader, Climate Change, CSIRO, during her presentation at the conference
Delegate Feedback Congratulations and thanks for organizing another great conference (this was best so-far) - Excellent MC, guest speakers, entertainment and all run to schedule (should consider running an airline)! Well done! AF A top program of speakers and a positive audience makes for a great conference, well done. Gerald Martin It was a pleasure to meet you and your staff and to present at your conference. I appreciated the
Great Conference, it was well run well managed and interesting to say the least. The social benefits were the bonus, but in tough times to have a sense of cohesion between most parties involved probably is a new event for Almonds in Australia – well done!!! Chris Greig
Thank-you for organising a very informative and interesting conference. The entertainment on Thursday night was also excellent! Greg White
warm Australian hospitality, spirit of camaraderie and transparency of your industry members. A terrific event. Shirley Horn
In A Nutshell—November 2008 9 Chairman Brenton Woolston, CEO Julie Haslett, Marketing Program Manager Joseph Ebbage and Almond Board of California's Global Marketing Manager Shirley Horn.