The California Walnut Crop and Competition from China
“It looks like the crop is going to come in at pretty close to expected, mainly due to the non- Chandler varieties. So far, the color looks really good and better than expected, especially with the hot summer, that tends to have an effect, but it looks good,” said Zion
Zion said in-shell sizing seems to be smaller this year. “But some of the other varieties such Tulare and Howard are making good sizing,” he noted.
Then there's that competition from China. “China has definitely come on strong as a major supplier this year, and it's starting to compete in most markets. And we were always a secondary source of walnuts. Looks like they're becoming a primary and making a run for the money inn some marketplaces,” he said.
We asked Zion how much competition China will be? “You know, we've seen China for instance, we've always had some competition on the almond side. I think what it does is it makes the U S growers, processors, and suppliers look for competitive advantages,” said Zion. “And one thing we've always been competitive across the tree nut industry, is our quality, our service, our follow up, our marketing, all the things that will differentiate us from other source, are going to become even more important to the industry.”
Zion said we don't want to differentiate ourselves on price. “That's a non-starter that tends to lose in the long run.
And he said the inshell this year has dropped in priced, from the beginning of harvest. Currently the price is 90 cents per pound plus or minus.