Whole Foods Market has named Blue Diamond Growers the winner of its “Outstanding Commodity Ingredients” in the grocer’s coveted annual Supplier Awards. The awards are the grocer’s highest honor for producer partners, and spotlight natural and organic suppliers who best embody Whole Foods Market’s mission and core values.

Blue Diamond was one of only 19 recipients of this year’s Supplier Awards out of thousands of suppliers to Whole Foods. Fewer than 50 natural and organic supplier partners have been recognized with this honor to date.

“We are honored to win this prestigious award,” commented Bill Morecraft, general manager of Blue Diamond’s Global Ingredient Division. “Being recognized by a company who is best in class is a tremendous way to thank our team for their continued hard work and dedication in bringing the highest quality almond products to market.”

Blue Diamond Growers won the award for consistent, high quality almond products, excellent communication and partnership to meet Whole Foods Market’s business needs, and for leadership in the conservation of honeybees and other pollinators that play an important role in the global food supply. 

As the world’s largest producer of almonds and almond ingredients, Blue Diamond represents more than 3,000 grower members in their cooperative, and their newest facility in Turlock, Calif., was recently named the “Plant of the Year” for 2014 by Food Engineering magazine. The plant is widely recognized as being the most efficient, food-safe almond processing facility in the world with features including a continuous flow design with “clean-room” technology to completely separate raw materials from finished goods.

The company also has a leadership role in coordination with the California Almond Board to address the critically important role that honey bees play in pollinating not only almonds, but a great deal of the country’s food supply. The Blue Diamond field staff works closely with growers to insure best practices to support bee wellness.

“At Whole Foods Market, we live and breathe our core values, and one of those values is creating win-win relationships with our suppliers. We’re excited to spotlight our outstanding suppliers whose shared passion, hard work and true partnership is helping us set the industry standard – for quality, ethical sourcing, environmental stewardship and more,” said Jim Speirs, global vice-president of procurement, non-perishables.