For the second year in a row, California almond growers are expected to set a production record. Currently, there are nearly 1.2 million bearing almond acres in California, with yield expected to be 2,140 pounds per acre. Together, these factors lead USDA to estimate approximately 2.5 billion pounds of almond production for the 2019 crop year. This is almost 9 percent greater than the existing record of 2.28 billion pounds set last year.
Record almond production can be attributed to greater bearing acreage and increasing world demand. Bearing acres have expanded every year since 1996 at an average rate of 4 percent YOY. Also, demand for almond milk, the number one dairy alternative, increased 250 percent between 2010 and 2015. Other important drivers are higher consumption in Asian markets and the proliferation of plant-based proteins in supplements, snacks, and meals in general.
Industry leaders expect almond production growth to continue, subjectively forecasting annual output at 3 billion pounds by 2021. Meanwhile, the California Almond Board has been tracking ways to optimize utilization of nonedible almonds components. For example, almond shells have been found to strengthen and heat-stabilize recycled plastics. Also, almond hulls contain sugar that can be extracted then used to ferment beverages such as beer or kombucha.