“The market tends towards walnut kernels and convenience. Walnut kernels now also belong to the all-season articles. We use it, for example, as an ingredient in saladss.” However, Borchert thinks walnuts are not yet at the levels of peanuts and almonds. “Walnuts are not yet established as a snack. For example, as a salted product they are barely known to customers. On the other hand, they are very popular as an ingredient in nut mixes and cereals.”
The Palm Nuts & More GmbH & Co. KG (Mariani Nut Company) represents a producer from the American state of California, which is the second largest growing area in the world, after China. The Californian walnut business was broadly satisfactory, according to Borchert, although the temperature was a bit too high at the end of the season. “We hoped for a big yield, but in the end it will probably be smaller than expected. The nuts have partially suffered from the heat and the kernels occasionally are a little dark. Otherwise, the quality is good and there are more light kernels than last year. Also, the proportion of "Sunburnt", i.e. shrunken kernels is lower this year. And there is less breakage. The prices for walnuts in the shell have actually only changed slightly compared to last year. In France, on the other hand, the situation was more serious: because of the frost, many products were lost.”
Borchert emphasizes that walnuts are a very time-critical business. By December 16th at the latest -within one month after the harvest- the nuts have to be marketed. “This year, the harvest took place a week later than last year. Then everything has to be shipped as quickly as possible. In this context, quality monitoring is also very important to our company. The walnuts are first washed in California, and then dried. Then there is another quality control after shipment, during which moisture levels and any mould are checked to meet UNECE standards.”
Nuts & More has been distributing the nuts from import agency Horst W. Palm GmbH since 1975 and delivers dried fruits from international wholesalers directly to customers throughout Europe. After a generational change in May of 1999, this business was continued as Palm Nuts & More. The company is characterized by direct delivery to food retailers as well as to the processing industry, importers and wholesalers. In order to meet the demand, the company cooperates with the Mariani Nut Company out of California.
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