California Walnut Industry Gears Up To Market Record Crop
Walnut production is expanding in California. This year’s crop is expected to be 780,000 short tones, an increase of 19% over last year according to the USDA.
California Walnut Board Executive Director Michelle Connelly says the increase is due to both new acreage coming into production and higher productivity. And, she says, demand is growing as well.
Connelly… “Well, demand has certainly been strong and growing worldwide, and we are seeing a lot of growth in various sectors of the market. Obviously there's been some impacts of COVID. But in general terms, we're certainly seeing that consumer consumption is continuing to grow. It's really being driven by several factors. The fact that you're seeing walnuts being distributed in ways that they weren't distributed before. So in the retail space, for example, you're starting to see walnuts used as a snack. You're starting to see some additional placements in retail stores, such as produce, which is really putting the product more before the consumer. But in addition to that, you're also seeing that the health benefits are really driving consumption, as we invest in more and more research to talk about the benefits of walnuts. Consumers are really responding to that. And certainly in light of COVID, that's actually put an extra emphasis on healthy eating and healthy choices and making sure that you're doing everything that you can with that spend and with that product that you're putting in your body.”
Connelly added that the entire industry has been strategically planning for continued growth.