Buoyant Australian almond crop forecast as Asian snack demand grows

By Jane Byrne

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Australia

Australia's almond production is expected to rise by 25 per cent in 2010 - up from 36,500 tonnes this year to 46,100 tonnes, announced the Almond Board of Australia (ABA) during its annual trade visit to India.

Julie Haslett, CEO of the ABA, headed the Indian trade visit and said the production of Australian almonds will continue to increase as young plantings reach full maturity and she said levels are expected to reach 80,000 tonnes by 2015.

“The news of Australia’s increased production estimate was well received by the Indian trade, as demand for Australia’s high quality almonds has never been greater,”​ she added.

India is Australia’s biggest almond export market, worth more than $20 million a year.

India has emerged as one of the fastest growing markets for in-shell almonds, which – with cheaper labour costs – shells and processes the nut ingredient for domestic use.

According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), as per capita income rises in developing countries, global market conditions for almonds become more favourable since countries enjoying greater prosperity can opt to introduce almonds into snacking and confectionery formulations.

California based Blue Diamond, the world’s largest almond processor, predicts that traditional markets in Europe for almonds will be challenged by increasing demand in China, India and the Middle East where consumption increased 115 per cent, 19 per cent and 51 per cent respectively in the past year.

And the processor also forecasts a bumper almond crop for 2010.

Research from market analysts Mintel shows consumers are increasingly turning to seeds, dried fruit and nuts to fill the gap between mealtimes, pushing sales of those snacks to the £0.5bn (€0.7bn) mark, with 50 per cent growth in the category since 2001.

Sales of luxury nuts - Brazil nuts, walnuts or almonds - have almost doubled in five years to £189m (€281.82m) and, in 2005, overtook peanut sales.

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