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2024 Update: Growth and Trends in US Walnut Imports to India 1

2024 Update: Growth and Trends in US Walnut Imports to India

January 3, 2024

As we all know, walnut (Juglans sp.) is undoubtedly the most significant and noteworthy nut fruit found in temperate regions. Let’s talk about walnuts in India for a bit – they come in a variety of sizes and shapes, adding to their unique charm. Did you know that when it comes to global walnut production and export, the United States takes the crown? And guess what, India happens to be one of its major importers! According to the latest walnut import data, in the year 2023, the US is all set to export walnuts worth a whopping $100 million to India, representing a remarkable 10% increase from the previous year. Isn’t that fascinating? In this blog post, we dive deep into exploring US walnut exports to India, covering everything from the key product categories to the challenges faced by the walnut exporters and the exciting opportunities that lie in this ever-growing market. Not only that, we’re also going to provide you with an engaging overview of the most recent product trade data for US walnut exports to India. Trust us, you don’t want to miss out on this walnut extravaganza!

What is the demand for walnuts in India?

Walnuts hold a significant position among the regularly produced nut crops in India’s northern regions. From the northwest Himalayas to the northeastern Hill region, the agro-climatic conditions of India’s Himalayan region are ideally suited for commercial walnut development. The major walnut-growing states are Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Uttaranchal.

Currently, India’s demand for walnuts is on the rise and is expected to continue growing in the coming years. There are several major factors contributing to this trend:

  • Lifestyle changes: Indians are increasingly health-conscious, seeking out healthy snack options. Walnuts are a favourite among consumers as they are a rich source of protein, fibre, and healthy fats.
  • Increasing disposable incomes: Rising disposable incomes indicate the health of any economy. As people’s purchasing power increases, there is a corresponding rise in spending on food and beverages, including walnuts, contributing to the growth rate of the Indian economy.
  • The increasing popularity of Western cuisine: Western cuisine is gaining popularity in India, and many Western dishes include walnuts as a major ingredient. As a result, the demand for walnuts has seen a boost.

Did you know that 99% of walnuts in the US are grown in California’s Central Valley?

The global market for walnuts is undergoing significant shifts and changes in the coming year of 2022-23. While the United States continues to hold its position as the largest exporter of walnuts worldwide, emerging competitors such as China, Chile, and Ukraine are steadily gaining importance in the industry.

According to the latest walnut export data, the walnut market is projected to experience significant growth, with an estimated increase of USD 2,144.65 million. Additionally, the market size is expected to expand at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 4.93% between 2022 and 2027.

As the US walnut industry began its new export season in September 2022, it faced a 17% decline in exports compared to the same month in 2021, as reported by the Export Import data. During this period, a total of 5,137 metric tons of both shelled and unshelled walnuts were shipped overseas. Notably, exports to Spain, Turkey, Italy, and Germany experienced a significant decline, whereas the United Kingdom was the only primary market to witness an increase in exports.

Meanwhile, on the import side, the European Union (EU) and Turkey continue to hold their positions as the leading markets with steady demand. However, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and India are rapidly increasing their imports of walnuts, as indicated by the latest walnut import data.

Looking ahead, it is anticipated that US walnut production will experience a decline in the 2021/22 season following a record crop in the previous year. However, the production levels are expected to remain relatively balanced in the next few years.

These trends and developments highlight the dynamic nature of the walnut industry, both in terms of export and import markets and underscore the importance of carefully analyzing and adapting to market changes for industry players.

2024 Update: Growth and Trends in US Walnut Imports to India 2

Leading Importing Countries of Walnuts

According to the data on walnut imports, the leading buyers of fresh or dried, shelled walnuts were:

  • China ($1.61 billion)
  • India ($1.39 billion)
  • Vietnam ($534 million)
  • Turkey ($466 million)
  • Germany ($352.8 million)
  • Japan ($124.8 million)
  • South Korea ($115.0 million)
  • Netherlands ($90.4 million)
  • France ($85.8 million)
  • United Kingdom ($69.6 million)

In 2022, China stood out as the largest global importer of walnuts, accounting for nearly 25% of all imports based on import-export data. Across these nations mentioned, the increasing demand for walnuts is attributed to factors such as growing incomes, rapid urbanization, and increased public awareness regarding the beneficial health aspects of consuming walnuts.

Who is the largest exporter of walnuts?

As per the walnut exporters data, these are the top exporting countries of walnuts:

  • United States. ($882.3M)
  • Chile. ($213.7M)
  • China.  ($200.6M)
  • Germany ($121.8M)
  • Ukraine ($75.3M)
  • Turkiye.($55.1M)
  • Moldova. ($48.0M)

So, you know what? The United States, Chile, China, and Turkey are the top countries when it comes to exporting juicy walnuts. And guess what? In the year 2022 alone, the United States managed to send over $1.2 billion worth of these delicious nuts around the globe. Can you believe that? That’s more than one-third of all the walnuts being exported worldwide! Impressive, isn’t it?

The California Walnut Commission is making a concerted effort to appeal to the Indian market as the consumption of nuts continues to grow.

With the health benefits of walnuts becoming more widely known, there is a projected doubling in the daily consumption of this essential dry fruit within the next 10 to 15 years, according to a senior industry official. It’s important to note that California contributes a whopping 99 percent of the commercial US supply and nearly 50 percent of the global trade.

In India, the consumption of walnuts reached its peak in 2020, but unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted international supply chains, causing a significant decline in walnut exports. The numbers dropped from almost 19,000 metric tons in 2020 to just 6,500 metric tons the previous year.

Pamela Graviet, Senior Director of Global Programs at the California Walnut Commission & Board, highlighted that the demand for walnuts in India is consistently growing year after year. People are not only recognizing the health benefits, but they are also incorporating walnuts into their regular diet outside of the festive season.

Challenges in the Walnut Export and Import Market

So, let’s talk about some of the key challenges faced by the Walnut Export and Import Market, shall we? One major hurdle that we come across is the high production costs associated with these delicious nuts. It’s no secret that this plays a significant role in hindering the growth of the market. Additionally, in certain countries, there seems to be a lack of awareness regarding the health benefits, current market statistics, and emerging market trends surrounding walnuts. And let me tell you, this lack of knowledge can seriously limit the demand for walnuts in the global economy.

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