Revised August, 2021.
California is the only state that produces almonds commercially. The 2020 almond crop totaled 2.25 billion pounds valued at $5.5 billion. (NASS)
Per person consumption of almonds in the United States has generally been increasing and reached 2.38 pounds in the 2019/2020 crop year. (ABC)
Internationally, the United States remains the largest producer of almonds, harvesting 78 percent of the world's crop, followed by the European Union. California is the largest producer in the United States. (ABC)
Encased in a tough, leathery hull and an inner, protective hard shell, almonds are mechanically shaken from the tree during the fall harvest and sent to handlers to be processed and marketed as a final product.
In 2020, there were approximately 7,600 growers, and 102 processors/handlers shipped 774 million pounds of almonds (ABC).
While the almonds themselves are the most used product, the flowers of the tree can also be eaten and used as garnish.
In the United States, the majority of almonds are consumed as ingredients in manufactured goods, including cereal and granola bars; the remainder are consumed as snacks, in in-home baking and at food service outlets.
The expanding consumer palate for international cuisines that use almonds and a growing Middle Eastern population may also help increase.
In addition, nut flours are expanding as an alternative to regular wheat flours in the gluten-free market. The non-dairy alternative market of almond milk is expanding, offering a low-fat, high-protein option for consumers.
New branded products and new uses of almonds in cereals, ice cream, confectionaries and baked goods have been introduced.
Another new use for almonds is processing the not-yet-ripe kernels of green almonds. They are harvested early, and the liquid kernels are used by chefs at gourmet restaurants to add a delicate taste to high-end dishes.
Almonds are either sold as in-shell or as processed, which can include shelling, dry roasting, blanching, slicing, and chopped and converted into paste (marzipan) or flavorings. The majority of almonds are shelled during processing, and the excess casings (the hull and shell) are used in the livestock industry for both feed and bedding material.
The United States is the dominant supplier of almonds. In 2019/2020, the country exported about 1.6 billion pounds of almonds. The top four countries that were recipients of United States almond exports in 2019/2020 were India, Spain, Germany, and China. (ABC)
Approximately 70 percent of U.S. almonds are exported as shelled almonds, with the remainder being either unshelled or manufactured. (FAS)
The United States imported 26.3 million tons of almonds in the 2019/2020 crop year. (ABC)
Helpful enterprise budgets for almonds:
- 2019 Sample Costs to Produce Almonds using Solid Set Sprinkler Irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley - North, University of California Cooperative Extension.
- 2019 Sample Costs to Establish and Orchard and Produce Almonds using Micro-Sprinkler Irrigation in the Sacramento Valley, University of California Cooperative Extension.
- 2016 Sample Costs to Establish and Orchard and Produce Almonds using Micro Sprinkler Irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley – North, University of California Cooperative Extension.
Almond Almanac, Almond Board of California (ABC), 2020 - This annual publication summarizes the production statistics of the California almond industry.
Almonds, Tree Nuts: World Markets & Trade, Foreign Ag Service (FAS), USDA, February 2021.
Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, Economic Research Service (ERS), USDA.
National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), 2020