Joachim Alkewitz, Jens Borchert and Bernd Hofmeister from PALM Nuts & More Nuss und Trockenfrucht & Co.:

"Raw material prices have fallen for walnuts, almonds and particularly macadamia nuts"

After a rather quiet period for the company PALM Nuts & More Nuss und Trockenfrucht & Co. from October 2022 onwards, higher demand for products such as macadamia nuts began to emerge again this February, as Joachim Alkewitz, Jens Borchert and Bernd Hofmeister told us.

Jens Borchert, Joachim Alkewitz and Bernd Hofmeister at Fruit Logistica 2023.

Consumer restraint after pandemic
"Our customers still had quite high inventories because they were very optimistic given the high demand -in some places - during the pandemic. However, problems along the supply chains put a spanner in their works," Borchert said. "The existing problems as a result of the war put the previously high level of demand into perspective. That's because consumers massively restrained their consumption."

Alkewitz points out that even in view of the consumption peaks, further growth rates were expected in 2021, but this did not materialize. "In the wake of the logistics problems, supermarkets and suppliers called for sufficient stocks. Now we were faced with the situation that demand had fallen, while at the same time there was too much product. Sales plummeted accordingly." Therefore, in order to be able to move larger quantities, several actions were implemented. "The motto of retailers around Christmas was to go for more promotions. The warehouses, such as those in Hamburg, were well stocked."

Good macadamia sales  
"Regarding  macadamia nuts, however, we were able to record good sales again, despite the higher price range. In the organic sector, significant declines are perceptible again, especially regarding premium goods. Discounters were able to score here. Furthermore, the organic segment is extremely low in nuts and dried fruit," says Alkewitz.

Walnut in shell back on trend
"There was also a big drop in walnuts as California continues to have problems with shipments," Borchert notes. "For the Christmas business, most importers resorted to goods from Chile because now that this product was available, one could be sure it would arrive on time." Walnut continues to be a very strong seasonal commodity, he said. "Food retailers now offer walnuts in shell almost year-round. Sales are slower accordingly. However, the season always goes well until Easter."

January was a record month for almonds
Borchert also points to the Position Report on almond as well as walnut shipments, which was released in early February. "January was a record month for almonds, with strong increases. This was surprising to us as well. This fact was probably partly due to the shipping situation." Apart from that, many products have become cheaper, he said. "Raw material prices have fallen for walnuts, almonds and especially macadamia. For these products, in the coming months, if not years, prices will certainly drop by a third, which will boost consumption again." Prices in grocery stores have probably not yet been adjusted to that effect. "The price of the walnut in the shell has dropped almost 50 percent, but that is not yet reflected in the consumer price. That will only become apparent successively over the course of the year."

New supplier countries
At about 1.3 million tons, China is the world's largest walnut producer, Alkewitz said. "However, most of it is sold in China itself. California produces about 780,000 tons a year. Chile produces about one-tenth as much as California. However, there are also new supplier countries entering the market such as Spain and Portugal and France, some of which have quality goods as well as good sizes. So there is  definitely enough competition." At Fruit Logistica, they also heard that work was underway on additional walnut projects in Germany and Central Asia.

For more information:
Jens Borchert, Joachim Alkewitz und Bernd Hofmeister
PALM Nuts & More Nuss und Trockenfrucht GmbH & Co.KG
Lindenstrasse 17
D-21244 Buchholz/Nordheide
Tel.: +49 4181 9091 0
Fax: +49 4181 9091 80

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