© Blue Diamond
Blue Diamond is a grower-owned cooperative of more than 3,000 California almond growers with a 109-year-long history and tradition. With their Almond Breeze®-brand they offer a range of different almond drinks. We spoke to Ian Greengrass, Managing Director Blue Diamond Almonds Europe, about their recent launch in Germany, the current situation of the brand and what differentiates them in the crowded market of plant-based drinks.
In the light of an ever-increasing number of consumers turning away from dairy products; how has your business developed in recent years?
There has been a great shift in consumer behaviour over the last 5-10 years as people seek out products to help live a healthy lifestyle or try vegan/vegetarian diets. The dairy-free category has benefitted from this in more recent years and seen rapid growths with milk alternatives now mainstream products you can find in nearly all supermarkets. As the world’s leading almond drink brand, Blue Diamond Almond Breeze® has expanded into many new geographies over the past year, such as Brazil, Mexico and Germany.
Are there any line extensions planned for 2019?
We just launched the Almond Breeze® range of drinks in Germany this March so our focus is on building the sales of these products first and foremost, but we are constantly looking at other opportunities to expand into new categories.
Through which channels and in which countries do you currently sell your Almond Breeze line?
Almond Breeze® is available in over 65 countries around the world, and we are the leading almond drink brand globally. The product range is specific to each market, however you can find Almond Breeze® in traditional retail, online, and food service channels in most countries.
With increased consumer demand, the market for plant-based milk is getting crowded. How do you differentiate yourself against your competitors?
As a grower-owned cooperative of more than 3,000 California almond growers our focus is only on almond products, which makes us the experts in almonds. Our almond growers are at the forefront of sustainable farming practices, and we are proud to say we grow and care for every almond that goes into our Almond Breeze® drinks. Consumers are interested in where the products they buy come from. The fact we grow our own almonds really sets us apart from the competition.
Vegetarians, vegans & flexitarians – how do you assess the target group and its development in the coming years?
These diets are becoming increasingly popular, so the market for plant-based food and drinks will continue to grow. Vegans and vegetarians will always be a key part of our consumer base, but we have also seen a big rise in the number of people consuming almond drinks for health & lifestyle reasons – it is a mainstream market now and we need to ensure we provide a product that is appropriate for all types of consumers.
How do you view the market for plant-based dairy alternatives developing in the future?
It is in an extremely positive position, more competition means more options for consumers which can only be a good thing. Brands will branch out into categories that were previously seen as a bit niche, or develop entire new sub-categories within plant based. Ultimately, consumer options will be endless.