The health-conscious Indian seems to be gobbling almonds like never before, leading the country to topple China and Spain to emerge as the world’s largest consumer of the nut in recent times.
Almond imports into India rose 7 per cent to worth $600 million (about ₹3,900 crore) last year against $560 million (₹3,640 crore) in 2016, according to Almond Board of California data.
“The pace of imports has risen sharply in the last few months with the use of almond as an ingredient in many products, including health drinks, biscuits and ice-creams,” said Sudarshan Mazumdar, Regional Director, ABC.
In the last six months, imports surged 29 per cent to 154 million pounds (one pound equals 0.45 kg). In the same period, China and Spain shipped in 138 million pounds and 119 million pounds, respectively. During the almond crop year 2016-17 (August to July), Spain topped the table, importing 210 million pounds, followed by India, with 167 million pounds, and China, with 150 million pounds.
Almond consumption has seen double-digit growth in India thanks to the surge in the economy, increasing spending power, and an increasingly health-conscious middle-class, said Mazumdar.
Emily Fleishmann, Senior Director of Global Marketing, Almond Board of California, said the Board has increased the promotional and awareness spends in India by 33 per cent to $6 million ($4.5 million).
California accounts for 80 per cent of the world’s almond production. Of this 33 per cent in consumed in the US and Canada, while 67 per cent is exported to 90 countries.
In 2016-17, world almond production stood at 2.01 billion pounds, while it has already hit 2.25 billion pounds this year, till February.