How the Pistachio Production Market Will Look in 2018

California produces most of the country’s pistachios, and even though the state has dealt with its fair share of drought, fires, and even floods leading to mudslides during the last year, pistachio production is expected to exceed expectations in 2018 according to the President of the American Pistachio Growers (APG), Richard Matoian.

What’s Driving the Pistachio Market for 2018?

Americans have started shifting their diets toward healthier sources of fat and protein, and pistachios have long been overlooked. These delicious nuts are prevalent in the US, but typically only found in ice creams, cookies, and puddings. Recently, the trend toward healthier eating has driven demand for nuts of all kinds, including peanuts and tree nuts, and pistachios are at the top of the growth list. Consumer demand has driven production, and thanks to the nature of supply and demand, pistachio prices have increased right along with that demand. This makes pistachio growth a lucrative business in California and other states across the US.

A Record-Setting Year in 2016

In 2016, pistachio growers took in some $2.1 billion collectively with the initial price being paid to growers set at roughly $2.35 a pound. Value per acre was estimated at roughly $8800, which was higher than any per-acre value previously recorded. That year, pistachio growers harvested some 905 million pounds of marketable crops, more than making up for 2015, when nuts did not split after harvest, resulting in a loss of about 20% of the overall crop. The crop for 2017 was somewhat smaller at just 600 million pounds by mid-October, even despite drought conditions.

The First Billion-Pound Crop in 2018?

Thanks to the last two years’ excellent harvests, more and more growers are transitioning into the pistachio market. This means that thousands of new acres have been added since the record-breaking 2016 crop. What’s more, because the weather has cooperated so far this season, meaning there is simply more chill in the air, the crop is expected to truly thrive. According to Richard Matoian, the president of the APG, there are 250,000 bearing acres of pistachio crops, and 320,000 total acres, including non-bearing trees. APG is gearing up for the anticipated increase, and Matoian thinks 2018 could be the American pistachio industry’s first billion-pound year on record.

Increasing Demand

Domestically, shipments totaled 195 million pounds during the 2016-2017 season, up from 130 million pounds for the year before. However, some 437 million pounds were exported to other countries, representing an increase of 196% over the previous year’s exports of only 147 million pounds. Most of the pistachios grown in California are shipped off to western Europe, and China alone took in 211 million pounds of exported pistachios. The countries responsible for most of the world’s pistachio production include Iran, the United States, Turkey, Syria, and China.

The 2018 pistachio market looks outstanding so far, and there are some who believe that it may be a record-breaking year for these delicious little nuts. More and more growers are planting pistachios, and more and more people around the world continue to demand them.