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Handlers Get New Tools, Resource Facelift


A popular tool for handlers to help buyers understand what product they are purchasing was revamped in late 2022, and now has been broken down into individual files for operations to use in their communications with clients.

Over a decade ago, the Almond Board of California (ABC) created a resource for handlers and buyers called the Guide to California Almonds poster. The tool was designed to show U.S. Department of Agriculture Standards and Grades, images of almond varieties and their characteristics and sizes, and general information on production regions and forms of almond products. “The Guide to California Almonds poster is used around the globe – by both almonds handlers (sellers) and by buyers. It’s an accurate, tangible resource that provides buyers a visual representation of almond varieties, sizes, grades and defects,” said Jenny Nicolau, ABC industry relations and communications senior manager. 

The Guide to California Almonds poster and individual files of the visuals are available to handlers to use in their communications.

The Poster – originally produced in 2012 and redone in 2016 – went through major changes last year. “The last version of poster included varietal characterization information on the 12 major varieties at the time,” said Guangwei Huang, associate director of food research and technology at ABC. “The updated version of poster focuses on 16 major varieties from current production with common size ranges and a real visual color display of each variety.  Most importantly, the new poster has updated pictures of USDA grades and defects.” 

Updating the colors of the almond representations and the visible damage on grade pictures was a key component of the last revise. Gabby Chavarria of Harris Woolf Almonds served on the taskforce for the project and noted the amount of discussion and attention that went into the revision process. “It was very important for the taskforce members that each section on the poster was as accurate as possible,” she said. “We wanted to give the industry a tool that can be shared with customers and help them understand the different grades and varieties.”  

Several industry members involved in the almond quality and safety side of the industry made up the taskforce for the project and ensured the accuracy of the images and information on the poster. The group met four times in 2022 to discuss changes, review project updates and ultimately sign off on a final product. Nicolau noted this collaboration made for a much stronger piece than its previous versions. 

The poster debuted at The Almond Conference 2022 and industry members have shown favor to the new rendition. Additionally, ABC heard feedback from handlers about the representative images on the tool. “We’ve received really positive feedback on the accurate coloring of the kernels (a challenge in previous versions), as well as praise for the realistic representation of the maximum tolerances allowed within each grading parameter,” Nicolau said.  

ABC is furthering the value of this tool by creating a space for industry members to access the individual elements of the poster to incorporate into their own communications. Handlers can access and download the images to use as needed here.