The International Nut and Dried Fruit Council (INC) celebrated the 38th World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress from May 23 to 25, 2019, in Boca Raton Resort & Club, Florida. Around 1,300 attendees from 63 countries gathered together to share knowledge and ideas on market development and dynamics, the latest findings in health and nut allergy research, and the sustainable growth of the industry.
Nut and Dried Fruit Production Prospects
As discussed by industry leaders during the Congress round tables, world tree nut production has been forecasted at 7.5 million metric tons (kernel basis, except pistachios in-shell), up by 5% from the previous season. Although it is still very early in the season to anticipate the crops final outcomes, the most significant increments are expected for hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds, which have risen from 2018/19 by 14%, 13% and 11%, respectively. According to early estimations, world peanut production in 2019/20 is foreseen to amount to 40.5 million MT (in-shell basis), 1.2 million MT up from 2018/19. Global dried fruit production has been forecasted at 3.2 million MT, up 3% from 2018/19, as production is expected to increase for prunes (14%), dates (8%) and apricots (7%). Directing efforts towards sustainability has been one of the hot topics throughout the round tables, as well as the plant base diet and healthy snacking as opportunities to boost consumption of nuts and dried fruits.
A Stimulating Three-Day Program
Dr. Oz, talk show guest and TV personality, provided insights into the "Issues Communicating the Message of Health”, while Mr. Hamdi Ulukaya, Founder, Chairman & CEO of Chobani, discussed how innovation and humanizing companies can change communities in a “Chat with CEO’s” session. The third keynote speaker, Mr. Brad Rose, Executive VP of Rose Research, gave an overview on how new technology is shaping marketing and consumer insights. The Scientific Seminar featured Dr. Vicki McWilliam, Allergy Dietitian and Researcher of The Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, who talked about advancements in nut-allergy research. Prof. Linda Tapsell, a leading Australian researcher at the School of Medicine, University of Wollongong, spoke about nuts as part of a healthy diet in the Nutrition Seminar. Moreover, the INC’s Executive Director, Goretti Guasch, presented the INC Annual Report and unveiled the INC’s new marketing campaign to promote the healthy consumption of nuts and dried fruits at breakfast time to provide the energy we need to face our daily challenges. Mr. Mark Mariani, Executive Chairman of Mariani Packing Company, announced the end of his chairmanship at the INC, passing on his legacy to Mr. Michael Waring, Chairman of MWT Foods. Finally, it was announced that the 2020 Congress is to be held in Dubai, UAE, from 28 to 30 May, 2020.
The INC Awards, handed out annually as part of the INC Congress, are aimed at recognizing outstanding leaders and visionaries who contribute to the excellence of the nut and dried fruit industry. In Boca Raton, Mr. Bert Steir, Vice President of The Wonderful Company, received the Individual Golden Nut Award while the Corporate Golden Nut Award was presented to Costco Wholesale Corporation. Also, the Award for Excellence in Research was given to Prof. Linda Tapsell and the Excellence in Gastronomy Award went to Andrew Roenbeck, head chef at the Boca Raton Resort & Club. And, finally, the INC Innovation Award winner was Besana Group for its Besana's Planet Friendly Pot.