US: Strong market for dates as volumes increase

Increasing demand at home and abroad has fuelled new acreage planted for the cultivation of Medjool dates in California. Despite increased volume this year, the market remains strong.

“Volume continues to grow year over year,” noted Erin Hanagan of Datepac. “We're continually adding new groves, so we're harvesting more each year. New trees mature each year, and as our groves mature we see an increase in our harvest.” The yield from each date palm also increases every year after it's planted, with full maturity taking about seven years, so volume increases come from better performing trees in addition to added acreage. She estimated that this year's volume is about 10 percent more than last year's, and that kind of growth is a response to growing demand for dates.

“Customers are becoming familiar with Medjool dates in the United States, and the export market is also strong,” explained Hanagan. “Household penetration in the U.S. gets bigger every year, so the market is very strong right now.” She credits increased awareness among consumers about healthy eating options as a reason for the growth. Dates have been endorsed as a heart-healthy food, and Hanagan believes that will further stoke demand.

In the U.S., Deglet Noor dates are the most prevalent variety of dates, but Medjool dates have shown better growth in the last few years. That growth is mirrored on the export market, where Hanagan explained they've seen good growth in Australia and New Zealand.

“I think the market for Medjool dates will continue to grow,” said Hanagan. “Especially in the U.S., as more consumers become aware of the health benefits of dates, they'll seek them out. More people are starting to integrate healthy eating into their habits, and dates fit in well with that. So there's no indication this market is going to slow down.”

For more information:
Erin Hanagan
+1 928 257 4889

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