The 2022 French campaign was exceptional, with an abundant harvest of almost 50,000 tons, compared with an average of 40,000 tons (20,000 tons in the Périgord and 20,000 tons in the Grenoble region). This surplus was “difficult to sell on the saturated global market, which led to a drop in prices for producers. Supply outstripped demand, and consumption was low. The mild autumn of 2022 delayed the consumption of this autumn fruit, while inflation had forced consumers to be more selective in their purchases and disregard ‘non-essential’ products. In the context of this ‘unprecedented market crisis’, the sector warned French public authorities and asked the French Ministry of Agriculture to release funds to compensate for lost sales,” explains Carmen Vilhena de Castro, of the Professional Union of Perigord Walnut, Kernels and Walnut Oil.
Smaller 2023 harvest
This year's harvest is 30 to 40% “smaller in volume”, compared with last year, which “should enable better sales on the market.” The harvest is smaller, and also more heterogeneous due to attacks by fungus (anthracnose). “The orchards located in the valleys have suffered greatly from the hot and humid weather conditions that favored the appearance of fungus.” The walnuts from hillside orchards, on the other hand, are showing “good calibers.” Harvest figures are not yet available, but according to the forecasts for 2023, the French national production should reach 23,000 tons (all basins combined). “With this smaller yield, producers are hoping for better prices than last year.”
In August, French actress Sophie Marceau, then on vacation in the region, posted a video on Instagram praising the Perigord walnut. “When buying walnuts, check the label and go for the French product! Making a walnut travel 15,000 km is a bit exaggerated in this day and age. Here, walnuts grow everywhere, without pesticides, and the carbon footprint is not disastrous. Eating walnuts is good for your health, but eating French is better for the planet. The sector hopes that this boost will further stimulate the consumption of local walnuts. Although it is difficult to measure the impact of this video, it has been widely seen and shared. A rather welcome advertisement in the middle of the current crisis!”
The Perigord walnut revamps its communication campaign
Competitions, digital ads, partnerships, events: the Perigord walnut is rolling out a promotional campaign on social networks, with new posters and catchy slogans. The campaign is also focused on health, as the Union wishes to remind people of the nutritional benefits of this autumn fruit.