The American pecan industry has been working for more than a decade to increase its footprint in the global marketplace. Pecan growers have been traveling the globe working with marketing agencies in foreign countries in an effort to spread awareness about the health benefits and the versatility of the American pecan.
As growers originally spent much of their time and efforts abroad, the market with the most growth potential today seems to be right here at home. The work of the growers to organize themselves and form a federal marketing order came only a few short years ago while global efforts continue in foreign countries, the domestic market seems to be yielding the most growth for American pecan growers.
The marketing order allowed for more research dollars to be spent on pecans health benefits along with data collection at an industry level. While the supply chain is still not completely transparent, growers have made leaps and bounds in moving the industry toward total transparency.
The data collections allows growers, shellers and accumulators access to real market data concerning supply and demand within the industry. Growers have now established a baseline for moving forward allowing them to gauge both the supply capacity of the pecan market as well as the current and future demand for the market.
Recent released data shows the pecan industry is still growing at a healthy rate even through the global pandemic that has closed economies around the world for months with many now beginning to reopen.
As we look at the shipment data for the American pecan industry we see that shipments for the year are up just over 21.6 million pounds when compared to the same time period last year. The pecan industry season begins in August each year and ends in July as this is in line with the harvest season for pecan nuts. From August to May of 2018-19 season (10 months) the industry had shipped 264.3 million pounds. However for the current 2019-20 season (10 months) the industry has shipped just over 286 million pounds of pecans representing an increase of 8.2% for the season.
The growth in the industry has shifted to domestic demand. For over a decade most of the growth in the pecan industry has come from foreign marketing efforts largely in China. Once the US Pecan growers established a foothold in the China market growth was steady and constant for years. However that growth ended abruptly when the trade war between China and the US ensued in 2018. But growth for the industry did not. While China was a great market, which appears to be rebounding with trade negotiations, the domestic market right here in the US has been the catalyst for growth for more than 2 years now showing that by and large the biggest market right here at home is still largely untapped. But with the new marketing team in place the American pecan growers intend to nurture their newly found consumers in the US.
China is coming back and many expect it to come back in a big way. While foreign shipments are down so far for the year by about 9 million pounds, the pecan shipments to China have soared. When comparing last season to this year pecan shipments from the US to China are up from just under 4 million pounds to just over 16 million pounds representing a 369% increase from some of the lowest levels in a decade.