Touting a growing awareness of the health benefits associated with eating walnuts, Dennis Balint, CEO of the California Walnut Commission, said that demand for walnuts, both domestically and abroad, has been growing.
"Demand is very strong right now," said Balint. "I don't think you can overlook the effect of health research that has been done on walnuts over the years." That kind of exposure is definitely a selling point with a population of consumers that's increasingly health-conscious.
"Lots of market research shows that the health benefits of walnuts are important factors when it comes to choosing them," said Balint. International markets have also been important to the rise in demand, he added, with China being a large driver of foreign demand.
"China, of course, has been an aggressive customer, but our traditional markets, like Germany and Spain, have also been doing well," he said. "And then we also have markets like South Korea, which continues to surprise us with how well we're doing there." The kinds of uses that consumers find for walnuts have also been a factor in the nut's surge in popularity, and demand keeps growing as it expands from its traditional role as one of the premier ingredient nuts.
"Walnuts have always been ingredient nuts, but we've seen their snacking uses improve," said Balint. "People now see it as more of a product for snacking." With that kind of demand, acreage has been increasing.
"We have 245,000 bearing acres and 40,000 nonbearing acres, and that's increasing," noted Balint. "We know there are new plantings every year."
For more information:
California Walnut Commission
+1 916 932 7070