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Dried Fruit and Nuts Commodity Market Analysis

The dried fruit and nuts market has always been key to the manufacturing of biscuits, cakes, sweets and confectionary. However, demand is increasing in international food markets as consumer preferences shift towards healthier snacking and plant-based foods. As an example, prune puree is gaining traction as a ‘healthier’ source of natural sugar in certain items, such as snack bars.

Key facts about the global dried fruit and nuts market
  • The US state of California is the world’s largest almond producer and grower at 2.5 billion lbs per year. It is also the dominant exporter of this nut category. While Spain and Australia are both expanding capacity, California is set to remain the top producer and exporter.
  • Turkey is the leading producer and exporter of hazelnuts, accounting for an estimated 80% of world supply. Recent estimates put the 2019 crop at 800,000 kernel tonnes.
  • Turkey is also the world’s number one producer of dried apricots. Volume can be as much as 795,000 tonnes on an annual basis.
  • Chile is becoming increasingly important as a global producer of prunes, ranking closely behind the US which is the top producer.
  • China is the number one producer of dehydrated apples.

Key themes affecting the dried fruit and nuts market

For the US, China’s retaliatory import tariffs, introduced in recent years, are a continuing challenge. Despite this, the US succeeds in boosting its overall exports of almonds each successive season, along with pistachios and walnuts. This is due to a very successful marketing programme which has generated strong buying interest, driven in large part by the positive health message behind almonds.

Rising consumption in China and elsewhere in Asia, such as India, is a recurring theme as the population of these countries become increasingly affluent and adopt a more westernised diet. Macadamia nuts also feature prominently in Asian countries and leading producing countries such as Australia and South Africa have been heavily promoting their product to the region.

The global prune industry is suffering a blurred outlook where falling consumption and high carry-over stocks are pushing down prices despite weak crops in large supplying countries such as Argentina. With both Chile and Argentina predicted to have smaller than average 2020 prune crops this should be a good opportunity for US prunes.

The Turkish hazelnut market remains very volatile, being driven not just by supply and demand dynamics but regular speculative activity, farmers and middlemen holding back stocks and fluctuations in the Turkish lira.

The 2020 coronavirus breakout in China is impacting trade flows to and from the region and has potential to hamper its exports of dried apple as an example.


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