The global trade in nuts in 2021 reached $32 billion

Nuts are the richest category of horticulture, and the international nut trade is the most valued of all fruit group products. This was stated by Andriy Yarmak, Economist of the Investment Centre of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) during the unique international conference “Nuts of Ukraine 2022: exchange of experience with Georgia” held on November 19, 2022, in Tbilisi, Georgia, as part of the international agricultural exhibition. He also noted that the global trade in nuts in 2021 reached $32 billion.

“Ukraine is one of the world’s leading exporters of walnuts, and Georgia is one of the world’s largest consumers of walnuts per capita. Walnuts in Georgia are added to many traditional dishes. In addition, walnut production in Georgia has recently been growing at a tremendous pace using the most modern technological approaches. In Ukraine, hazelnuts have been the leader among all perennial orchards in terms of laying new orchards in recent years, and Georgia is one of the world’s largest exporters of hazelnuts. Therefore, the two countries can learn a lot from each other, which was the reason for organizing this Ukrainian conference in Georgia,” explains Andriy Yarmak.

He noted that to analyze the global nut market, we should consider not only walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds and pistachios, but also those nuts that have long been a niche for our region, and those that are not nuts in a botanical sense but refer to nuts from the consumer’s point of view. Namely, peanuts must be included in the analysis of the nut market – they are the main competitor of other nuts in supermarkets and in various snacks.

It will also come as a real surprise to many that the share of cashew nuts in global trade was larger than that of almonds until recently. These two nuts account for about 40% of all global trade, while the share of walnuts is only 11%, and hazelnuts – 8%. By the way, the share of pistachios is approximately the same as that of walnuts, although sales of pistachios are much smaller. The reason is that the pistachio is the most expensive nut.

The third in terms of the volume of international trade in nuts is not a nut – a peanut. As the cheapest type of nut, it is sold in different countries and its popularity is growing rapidly. This is confirmed by the following chart.

As you see, peanut sales are growing by 14% annually – this is the fastest-growing category of international trade now. Sales of cashews are falling, but it is a different story. Among other nuts, it is worth noting the growth in popularity of kola nut (up 10% per year in international trade) and areca nut (9% per year).