Other global emerging markets for California almonds include Russia, Brazil, and Southeast Asia. The world needs more almonds, Mason proclaimed, as a source of a healthier diet worldwide.

“As obesity has become more prevalent around the world, consumers are looking for healthier snacks,” said Mason. “Almonds are a perfect solution to fill that need. Our goal, while lofty, is to obtain globally the same level of awareness and consumer knowledge as we currently enjoy in North America where 87 percent of consumers rate almonds as good or excellent in nutrition. That is staggering. That is our goal globally. We have our work cut out for us.”   

Waycott tossed laurels on the ABC’s 60th anniversary achievement, amid the conference theme “Growing Advantage – Leadership through Research.”

Waycott said, “We have discovered who we are as an industry, what we are as a product, what we signify to our consumers, and have established the defining role we must play in the dietary best practice of tomorrow. We have expended the time and efforts to be true to ourselves and have created an agricultural industry unlike any other.”

Research has shaped the almond industry over the six decades. “Research is knowledge and knowledge is power,” said Waycott. Research has provided the almond industry with a distinct growing advantage, “progressing from a good-to-great performance to innovate ahead of its competitors.”

Waycott became the ABC prexy in 2002. He has 25 years of food industry experience, including overseas with Cargill in Brazil and with food processing and consumer products industries in Venezuela.

Key to the ABC’s success is funding through the current 3-cent-per-pound grower assessment, which Waycott says has delivered significant advantages to the California almond industry.

“Whether you are a scientist at heart or don’t possess an investigative bone in your body, the foundation of research which you (growers) have funded over these many years with many millions of your hard-earned dollars is allowing this industry to create advantage every day; an advantage that will provide for our future,” Waycott said.

California almond growers produce 100 percent of the U.S. crop; supplying 100 percent of the domestic market, and 80 percent of the world almond market.

The Almond Board of California administers a grower-enacted U.S. federally-mandated marketing order under the supervision of the USDA.