The north American pecan harvest is well under way in the southeastern US and is quickly moving west as more orchards begin to open up and get ready for the shakers to move through the orchards shaking and harvesting pecans.
The wholesale market is the morning gossip around the local coffee shops in the rural south, and the gossip is somewhat gloomy this year. This year’s harvest has come in early and buyers are already sitting on a larger inventory than last year. To add to the inventory, several buyers are purchasing large quantities of Mexican pecans comparable to last years near record imports. Already, in this short season, buyers have imported 58.2 million pounds of pecans from Mexico. This is a decrease from last year when imports were at 62.2 million pounds, a decrease of nearly 4 million pounds.
With large inventories and large imports quantities coming in, wholesale pecan market prices have hit decade lows. But not all is gloomy in the pecan market. While the wholesale market is slow, retail sales have been strong and in many retail outlets, business is booming.
The American Pecan Council, along with the USDA release monthly export data for pecans. This season the American Pecan Council reported a drop in pecan exports. The reduction in exports was a blow to the industry, but not surprising with a scattered, and staggered global economic shutdown. Pecan deliveries slowed as economies shuttered and buying habits shifted to more home based cooking than in recent years.
While exports were down for the year, domestic consumption led the way to an overall increase in pecan consumption. For the year pecan consumption was up 6.7% even with the slower export market.
Pecan retail sales in the US have found new light as the American Pecan Council continues to focus on increasing awareness and consumption in the domestic market. The APC along with their marketing team has been targeting healthy eaters to educate more consumers about the health benefits of pecans.
Pecan retail sales in the US continue to perform well, and may be essential to growers as various states around the US talk of going back to phases 1 or 2 of their lockdowns as covid cases rise in those states.
Still early in the season, retail sales show a strong market for pecans while the wholesale market is still working through larger inventories, and significant import quantities.