marketed products was less than 17%, these products were responsible for 50% of all market growth during the same period. That means the remaining 83% of products had little or no growth in sales. In early March, we met with a European partner whose market research identified sustainability as one of three large trends driving product introductions in that market. There is a lot of interest in sustainability in the marketplace. It is too big to ignore.
I think of our investment in sustainability similarly to introducing a new flavor of snack almonds. Blue Diamond launched Smokehouse ® almonds way back in 1949. I love Smokehouse ® almonds and so do many other folks. But that didn’t stop Blue Diamond from introducing Wasabi and Soy Sauce flavored almonds in 2005. Today, that flavor is almost as popular as Smokehouse ® and is a significant sales driver for our snack nuts business. I doubt there is a member who is upset that we added this bold flavor to our product portfolio instead of insisting that our consumers stick with the classics. The recent introduction of XTREMES ™ takes spicy flavors to yet another level in the pursuit of consumer dollars for our members. We are pursuing the contemporary interests of consumers as we seek to maximize returns for our members. True, flavoring nuts is not the same as engaging our members in their on-farm practices; there is more involved here. Nor are spicy flavors as politicized as sustainability issues. But the market reality is…a reality. I’ve told my colleagues at Blue Diamond that if sustainability can’t help drive sales, then I’m not doing my job. That is our focus for sustainability at Blue Diamond . Sales, not selling out.
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Dr. Dan Sonke, Director of Sustainability, Blue Diamond Growers
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