Blue Diamond Growers Innovate

 

Blue Diamond Growers Innovates Almond Products

By Patrick Cavanaugh, with the Ag Information Network

Mark Jansen is president and CEO of Blue Diamond Growers. And they sure innovate.

“About five years ago, we opened the world’s first almond innovation center. We have a number of R&D and research and marketing people who are housed together on our campus in Sacramento, whose job is to come up with innovations, you know, utilize almonds in new and better ways. And those efforts have absolutely paid off and a year before COVID we launched our record number of new products,” said Jansen.

Jansen said during the COVID crisis, grocery stores didn’t want to innovate. The stores just wanted to keep things simple, only keep the basics on the shelves.

 

“The stores did not want to see anything new, they just want to make sure they have products in stock. Now, as we come out of COVID, we fully anticipate that people’s desire for seeing something new for new taste experiences, for variety, will come back with a passion,” Jansen said.

 

“And so, we’ve been innovating all through the pandemic and our teams have found innovative ways to do that. We’ve got a great pipeline of new product ideas that I would love to be able to share with your listeners, but I’m only able to share those such as the extreme almonds that are showing up soon,” he said. Jansen is referring to a hot and spicy line of almonds. “It becomes a competitive intelligence issue for us,” he said.

The Benefits of Eating Almonds

Source: Alissa Fleck; SF Gate

Natural, unsalted almonds are a tasty and nutritious snack with plenty of health benefits. Loaded with minerals, they are also among the healthiest of tree nuts. Just a handful of nutrient-rich almonds a day helps promote heart health and prevent weight gain, and it may even help fight diseases like diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Nutrition

Eating about 23 almonds a day is an easy way to incorporate many crucial nutrients into your diet. Almonds are rich in vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Additionally, almonds are a significant source of protein and fiber, while being naturally low in sugar. One 23-almond serving packs 13 grams of healthy unsaturated fats, 1 gram of saturated fat and no cholesterol or salt. Of all tree nuts, almonds rank highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin content by weight. There are 160 calories in 23 almonds. While many of these calories come from fat, it is primarily the healthy unsaturated fats and not the unhealthy saturated kind.

Heart Health

According to the FDA, eating 1.5 ounces a day of most nuts, like almonds, may reduce the risk of heart disease. Many of the nutrients in almonds help contribute to increased heart health. For one, almonds are rich in magnesium, which is critical in preventing heart attacks and hypertension. Several clinical studies have also shown almonds can be effective in reducing bad cholesterol and preserving healthy cholesterol, which plays a major role in heart health.

Weight Maintenance

Nuts, like almonds, are also beneficial for maintaining a healthy weight. The fiber, protein and fat content of almonds means it only takes a handful to keep you feeling full and satisfied so you won’t have the urge to overeat. According to “Fitness” magazine, the magnesium in almonds helps regulate blood sugar, which is key in reducing food cravings. Almonds may even be able to block the body’s absorption of calories, making them the ultimate weight-loss-friendly snack. Because almonds are naturally high in calories, it’s important to limit your serving size to the recommended 1 ounce, or 23 nuts.

Other Health Benefits

Almonds may also promote gastrointestinal health and even combat diabetes. The high fiber content of almonds gives them prebiotic properties, which contributes to health in the gastrointestinal tract. Prebiotics are non-digestible food substances, which serve as food for the good bacteria in the intestinal tract and help maintain a healthy balance. According to a study by the American Diabetes Association, a Mediterranean diet incorporating nuts, such as almonds, helps fight diabetes even without significant changes to weight, physical activity or caloric intake.

Raw vs. Roasted

Almonds are available in a variety of preparations and it can be tough to know which is healthiest. Raw, unsalted almonds are a safe bet, but some people prefer the roasted taste. Both raw and roasted almonds pack a high dose of nutrients and minerals. Raw almonds have more naturally occurring beneficial fats, as some are lost in the roasting process. Dry roasted almonds have the same amount of calories as raw almonds, while almonds roasted in oil contain slightly more calories.

The Fresno County Department of Agriculture reported that almonds have become the county’s newest billion dollar crop; producing a total gross value of over $1.1 billion.