California's Great Wal-Nut: Standing Firm

Positive walnut consumption growth in Australia, South America, South-East Asia and the European Union will drive global consumption trends. Mature markets such as China and the US will continue to grow, albeit at a slower rate.

picture of walnut in hull

Walnut producers will need to focus on quality in order to be competitive in world trade. Growers in the US will find it necessary to modify their production strategy—as older or antiquated orchards are pulled from production—if it proves no longer profitable at prices lower than recent experience.  The recent expansion of walnut acreage in California will challenge many processors' capacity limits, encouraging further investment in equipment and cold storage, as there will continue to be greater demand for shelled product. Marketing and educating consumers will continue to be important to the success of walnut producers. Market share will increase for those who are able to focus on price, quality and marketing activities. 

Highlights from the report

  • The next ten-year average price California walnut growers will receive will be as much as 15 percent lower than the previous ten years, as the US dollar continues to strengthen and foreign competition improves quality.
  • California walnut producers with less profitable older or antiquated orchards will pull them from production, slowing the growth of total acreage to 1.5 percent per annum in the medium term. 
  • Production in Ukraine, Chile and Moldova will increase significantly during the next ten years and will challenge US growers’ lock on walnut exports.
  • Global per capita consumption trends will grow approximately 5 percent per annum during the next five years, fueled by growth in emerging markets such as India, Brazil, Chile and Australia.

More details can be found in the Rabo Research report ‘California’s Great Wal-Nut: Standing Firm’.