How Strong Demand for Pistachio Production is Driving the Market Up

The demand for pistachios is growing – and rather quickly, according to the president of the APG, or American Pistachio Growers. It’s not American demand fueling the industry growth, however; western Europe and China consume more pistachios than Americans. Thanks to this demand, the pistachio market in the US is thriving.

About Pistachios

Pistachios are tree nuts, and while they originated in Central Asia and Asian countries are the biggest consumers of pistachios, the United States is the world’s top producer. Iran is another top producer of pistachios, but due to increased soil salinity and other factors, this is no longer the case. American pistachio farmers have utilized new technologies and farming practices to surpass Iran, and it is now the world’s largest producer of pistachios. Some 98% of all the pistachios grown in the US come from California, and the other 2% are grown in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and Utah.

The Demand for Pistachios

Though Americans consume only about a quarter of the pistachios produced in this country, that is expected to change in future years as Americans become more conscious of the benefits of the foods they consume. Pistachios are rich in protein and they boast a healthy ratio of fatty acids, both of which are vital to building strong muscle and keeping body fat in check. Pistachios can also help reduce cardiovascular risks when consumed regularly, and since heart disease takes more lives in the United States than anything else each year, it makes sense that consumers would want to lower that risk.

Half the pistachios produced in the United States are exported to China and Hong Kong, which are widely regarded as the world’s biggest consumers of pistachios and other similar tree nuts. Recently, thanks to new government mandates in Turkey, the US has started shipping a lot of its pistachios to that country, as well. Demand continues to increase, and American farmers are working hard to satisfy it. In fact, per a recent report from the APG, the industry may experience its first ever billion-pound year in the 2017-18 growing season.

How Pistachios are Sold

For many years, many people in the US only ever saw pistachios in ice cream, cookies, or other sweet treats. In the last several years, though, as people become more health-conscious, they’ve begun eating the delicious nut in its original form with a bit of salt. Of the more than 450 million pounds of pistachios produced and sold in the US in 2014, only 59 million pounds were sold still in the shell. The other 405 million pounds found their way into the market without their shells – just like most American and Chinese consumers prefer. Pistachios can also be converted into paste and oil, both of which are healthy, flavorful alternatives to conventional cooking oils and nut butter.

People around the world are demanding more pistachios. Everyone wants to be healthier, but at the same time, everyone wants a delicious, easy-to-grab snack. It just so happens that pistachios fit the bill, and it’s likely that more pistachios than ever before will be grown right here in the US during the current growing season.