During the past few years, there has been a growing demand for food and beverage products that are clean, devoid of altricial ingredients, and are composed of only naturally-derived ingredients. Besides, there has been a surge in vegan dietary preference whereby consumers abstain from consuming food and beverage that are derived from livestock. These two developments have incentivized the large corporations as well as new entrants to partake in a myriad of investments in R&D, research and development, fundraising, new product launches, and marketing strategies. Another development which is worthy of separate mention is the emergence of plant-based dairy substitutes especially in North America, Europe, and East Asia that arise from the growing cognizance of health benefits and increasing incidence of lactose intolerance besides the environmental impact of dairy about which conflicting views exists. These are a few of the factors which are expected to lead to the global almond market growth. Almond has been known to be consumed cooked or raw, unblanched or blanched, combined and/ or mixed with other nuts. It can also be modified and incorporated into other products or to produce nougat and marzipan.
Since ancient times almond has been proved to be versatile and adaptable, making almond one of the ancient crops which finds its mention in Greek mythology among others that has uncheerfully made use of a wide range of ecological niches from dryland, seedling orchards in the Zagros Mountains of Iran where it originated, to the irrigated, highly productive Central Valley clonal orchards of California, The USA because of its ability to develop a deep and extensive root system and adaptation to harsh climates. Almond is ideally suited to the mild winter and dry, hot summer conditions that are distinctive of Mediterranean climates because of low chilling requirement, swift early shoot growth, and high summer heat and drought tolerance. Almond is also a representation of hope in certain parts of the world because it is the earliest temperate tree crop to flower with a spectacular bloom that is often preceded by an uneventful winter. Almond is also known for its capability of being easily transportable and store for a long time which has been instrumental in its dissemination since time immemorial leading the evolution of the global almond market.
Growth forecasts and estimates of a select few markets of which almond is an integral component suggest the potential of the global almond market during the next few years.
The consumption of this flavorful and highly versatile and nutritious nut has been extensive in some form or the other which has fueled almond trade opening new market opportunities that have fostering increased production and diverse product developments. Besides, since the medieval times to the 18th century, almond was a source of substitute milk and was also used as a thickener before starch was discovered. It is pertinent to note that the global almond market has been forecasted by Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence to grow at a CAGR of 4.47% from a value of US$9.286 billion that has been estimated for 2019 to reach a total market size of US$12.073 billion in 2025. Further, with regards to new market opportunities, which is expected to augment the growth of the almond market, it is relevant to note the following. Considering lactose intolerance, the rising popularity of the plants-based alt milk market, the almond milk market has been forecasted by Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence to grow at a CAGR of 9.75% from a value of US$3.740 billionthat has been estimated for 2018 to reach a total market size of US$6.536 billion in 2024. Besides, almond has been long appreciated in the cuisines of the Germanic and Scandinavian countries which coupled with results from ongoing studies demonstrating health benefits from regular almond consumption has also led to the emergence of almond Ingredients market which is forecasted by Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence to grow at a healthy CAGR. Thus, almond is simply not just a tasty snack as well as a delicious ingredient used in the bakery, confectionery, and other food products /preparations but also a source of compounds important for maintaining healthy metabolic function. Besides, the most extensive and old medical system which first recorded health benefits ranged from ancient Greeks, the Persians, and later in traditional Chinese medicine and Indian Ayurvedic medicine.
Total Global Almond Shipments, Crop Years 2014/15–2018/19
In Million Pounds
Source: Almond Board of California
Diverse factors that are poised to drive the global almond market growth
The regular consumption of almonds has been associated with a broad range of health benefits including protection from cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity. The high nutritive value of almond kernels stems from their high lipid content which is also an important source of calories but does not contribute to cholesterol formation because of their high level of monounsaturated fatty acids. Further both short-term and long-term almond consumption aids in the regulation of body weight and triglycerides, total cholesterol TL: HDL ratio, and fluctuations in blood glucose. While the health aspects have been briefly delved into another factor that is anticipated to lead to almond market growth is their properties of value-added products despite being a commodity. The level of quality and service associated with each grower or handler leads to a reputation that is unique to each grow (or handler). The differentiating factors encompassed above are the varieties grown, the level of mechanical damage from the hulling and shelling process (split, broken, chipped), the level of insect damage, and the kernel size with bigger ones being more valuable. Besides the factors that have been conducive for the consumption of the almond hence the growth of the market is a reduction of trade barriers facilitating the expansion of foreign markets and the increasing availability of disposable income among in the developing economies, leading to the adoption of healthy snacking options which comprises the consumption of almonds in a variety of forms especially during the festive season. Further, almond kernels that are of comparatively lower quality have been increasingly sought after by the cosmetics industry for oil extraction.