Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

You are using software which is blocking our advertisements (adblocker).

As we provide the news for free, we are relying on revenues from our banners. So please disable your adblocker and reload the page to continue using this site.

Click here for a guide on disabling your adblocker.

Sign up for our daily Newsletter and stay up to date with all the latest news!

Subscribe I am already a subscriber

Increasing demand for exports offers room for pistachio category to grow

The 2023/2024 California pistachio season was a record season in terms of production volume. It was an on-year for pistachios, an alternate-bearing crop. In addition, water supply was excellent due to significant rainfall in spring, which was followed by a summer that wasn't very hot. As a result of favorable growing conditions, the supply of pistachios reached a record 1 billion pounds. "This is a 216 percent increase over the past 10 years," says Christine Trageser with Nichols Farms.

A large production volume also means there are more nuts to sell. What has helped drive sales is the export market. "In addition to domestic retail programs, we've also developed an excellent export network," Trageser shared. This season, which saw an abundance of supply, China really increased their demand for California pistachios. "It is one of the fastest growing markets for us. The Chinese economy is doing well, and pistachios seem to be the preferred nut variety for the Chinese." These two factors have contributed to an increased demand. Europe also is an important market for California pistachios with export levels being consistent.

Chuck Nichols, CEO and owner of Nichols Farms.

This upcoming season, pistachio trees are having an off-year and harvest is expected to be more moderate. "The chill wasn't as good as last season, and the bloom was late. The Kerman variety – California's most common pistachio variety – doesn't seem to be holding a high yield, so production will be down from last year."

In-shell versus no-shell
While domestic demand for pistachios is stable, the no-shell (kernel) option is quickly gaining popularity over in-shell pistachios. "No-shell pistachios showed a 15 percent increase in distribution over last year," shared Trageser. This is driven by consumers looking for convenience. "No-shell pistachios are easier and less messy to bring on the go." While they are more expensive than in-shell pistachios, there is a growing demand for better-for-you snacks and consumers are willing to pay for a healthy, convenient snack.

Protein levels
Despite a record production volume in 2023-2024, Trageser believes there is still room for growth in the category. "Vegans and vegetarians continue to look for plant-based foods and pistachios are a complete protein, containing all nine Essential Amino Assets (EAAs)." After braised beef brisket and cooked chicken, pistachios provide the next highest levels of total EAAs, making them a very popular alternative for meat products.

In addition, new flavors are increasingly being introduced. "We've carefully dialed in to spicy, savory, and sweet pistachio flavors, which has been exciting," Trageser shared. Flavored nuts are available both conventional and organic. "As consumer lifestyles move and consumers become more conscious of the health benefits of pistachios, organics will become more important."

Organic no-shell pistachios in different flavors.

For more information:
Christine Trageser
Nichols Farms
Tel: (+1) 559-415-6279
[email protected]