The global pecan market has seen an increase in the pecan supply over the past 10 years, but not nearly enough to keep pace with demand. Pecan growers around the globe have been increasing acreage with new plantings, but the current pace is still insufficient to meet today’s market demands. As pecan growers in the US and Mexico are just beginning to harvest, many of the growers also have planting in the back of their minds. As soon as the pecan harvest is over, most growers will immediately begin planting of new orchards, but currently it’s not enough.
The US Pecan Growers Council has been introducing pecans to consumers and food companies around the globe for several years now, and the marketing efforts are working. The pecan has gained popularity in other countries such as China, Turkey, India, the EU and others, but more significantly most of the world’s population still has not heard of a pecan. To put the demand picture into perspective we look at China’s growing middle class. Consulting firm McKinsey & Company stated that by 2022 76% of China’s urban population will be considered “middle class” compared to only 4% in 2000. That means that by 2022 more than 550 million people in China will be considered middle class. The entire population of the USA is only 323.1 million. If pecans were marketed only in China and no other countries current supply capacity would still need to increase significantly. Until vastly more land is planted in pecan orchards buyers will continue to compete for the current available supply.
Current pecan growers are expanding at maximum capacity but say that more growers are desperately needed to enter the market to shore up the supply side of the global market. “Prices can only go so high, we need a lot more on the supply end of the equation to keep up” says one Georgia grower. Another grower in Texas say’s “We can barely keep up with the local retail market, we aint even considering exporting [pecans] yet”.