Attracted by perceived health benefits, the Chinese are devouring record quantities of US grown pecan nuts. Last year saw exports grow by 64%.
The rise of the pecan in China started in 2007 when walnuts, which were very popular in the country at the time, experienced dramatic price rises. The Chinese went searching for a new nut and found the US pecan. The US supplies 80% of world demand for pecan nuts.
Last year over 20% of U.S. production went to China, with a cash value of over $140 million, according to Southern US Trade Association. The Chinese market has given US growers a new market outlet – previously the bulk of their supply had been sold to domestic processors. The Chinese want them in the shell, a premium product that attracts a premium price.
However, this new found market has raised the price also for the US and European consumer who have to compete for market share now. Already some US food companies have cut back on their purchase of pecans and began to seek out substitutes.
Source: Fresh Plaza Feb 2013