Walnut Prices Explained
Generally, walnut prices mainly rely on the changes in weather occurrences. However, with the discovery of food and health applications, walnut demand began to rise, ultimately affecting its market prices.
Why are walnut prices fluctuating?
Similar to other agricultural commodities, walnut prices experience fluctuations due to the following factors:
1. Weather Condition
Walnut prices are largely influenced by extreme weather events like droughts, excessive rainfall, frost, and storms. These unfavorable weather conditions harm walnut trees which leads to low crop output, ultimately driving walnut prices in the market.
Overall, the connection between weather conditions and walnut prices primarily relates to their effects on crop yields, quality, and the timing of harvest.
Thus, this causes supply fluctuations and impacts market dynamics, resulting in price changes.
2. Consumer Preference
Consumer preferences for nutritious foods like walnuts fluctuate because of health and wellness trends.
Walnuts are admired as a healthy snack option due to their omega-3 fatty acids and other nutritional advantages.
Therefore, shifts in health consciousness directly influence the level of walnut supply, demand, and market costs.
3. Transportation and Distribution Costs
The expenses related to moving walnuts from their production site to the consumer market are influenced by the distance to be covered.
Greater transportation distances generally lead to increased transportation costs which sways the ultimate walnut retail price.
Additionally, variations in fuel prices have a substantial impact as it is a means of moving goods to the end-user.
4. Import and Export
The quantity of walnuts traded internationally has a direct hold on its prices.
For example, higher exports from major walnut-producing country results in increased supply in global markets, ultimately exerting downward pressure on walnut prices.
Conversely, decreased exports from its producer tighten its supply, potentially causing prices to rise.
Which variables impact the price of walnut?
- Weather Condition
- Consumer Preference
- Transportation and Distribution Costs
- Import and Export
- Government Policies
- Pest Infestations
- Global Trade
Where does walnut come from?
Walnuts are edible seeds that come from broadleaf trees belonging to the Juglandaceae family.
They are large, round, and have a wrinkled appearance.
Additionally, they are a rich source of healthy omega-3 fats, antioxidants, fiber, protein, carbohydrates, calcium, iron, sodium, phosphorus, and manganese.
Due to its nutritional benefits, walnuts are commonly enjoyed as a type of nut, used in baking, and processed to produce walnut oil.
Several varieties of walnuts are grown and harvested around the world:
1. English Walnut – also known as the Persian walnut or common walnut. It has a thin shell and a gentle, sweet taste.
2. Black Walnut – it is smaller and harder to crack than English walnuts. Black Walnut has a robust flavor with a tinge of bitterness.
3. Arizona Walnut – a wild nut. Generally, it is small in size and not commercially cultivated.
4. California Walnut – also known as Southern California black walnut. It is smaller and harder to crack compared to English walnuts.
5. Butternut – it is smaller and rounder in shape, however, it has a mild and buttery flavor.
Here’s an overview of the typical walnut processing process:
1. Harvesting – Walnuts are usually harvested in late summer or early fall when they reach full ripeness.
The harvesting method involves the use of mechanical shakers or manual laborers who shake the walnut trees to dislodge the nuts, causing them to drop to the ground.
The fallen nuts are gathered and collected.
2. Hulling – To extract the walnut kernel from its protective husk, mechanical equipment such as a huller is typically used.
This equipment efficiently separates the husk from the walnut. The husks can be either disposed of or put to alternative uses such as natural fertilizer.
3. Drying – To decrease their moisture content, walnuts undergo a drying process.
This procedure is usually carried out within a controlled environment to prevent excessive drying.
4. Cracking – After thoroughly drying, they undergo the cracking process to separate the tough outer shell from the edible kernel inside.
This is done either by manual labor or with specialized machinery.
5. Sorting – The broken kernels undergo a sorting process to eliminate any nuts that are damaged or flawed.
6. Packaging: The sorted walnut kernels are then packaged in various forms, depending on their intended use.
They are packaged in bulk, vacuum-sealed bags, or various other types of packaging suitable for retail sales or industrial applications.
What are the uses of walnut?
Walnuts provide many advantages for skin, hair, and overall health.
Thus, its primary driver in market growth is the increasing demand for healthy and nutritious food products.
For example, the growing use of walnuts in the food processing industry to produce items like nut butter, confectionery, chocolates, and bakery products is a significant factor contributing to this gain.
Here are some of the industrial applications of walnuts:
1. Wood Finishing – Walnut oil finds application in the field of woodworking, particularly in the finishing of wood products as it gives a stunning and natural finish that improves the wood’s color and grain.
2. Cosmetics and Personal Care – Its oil plays a vital role in cosmetics and personal care items like moisturizers, soaps, shampoos, and hair conditioners.
Thus, it is highly considered for its soothing properties and the advantages it provides for skin and hair.
3. Soap Making – Crushed walnut shells, especially those from black walnuts, are used as an exfoliating agent in soaps and skincare products.
The sandy texture of walnut shells effectively aids in the elimination of dead skin cells and contributes to achieving smoother skin.
4. Dye Production – Its shells and hulls have the potential to produce natural dyes which are essential in manufacturing color textiles, leather, and various craft materials.
5. Biofuels – Walnut shells and their agricultural residues have the potential to serve as biomass feedstock for the generation of biofuels.
6. Pest Control – Its leaves and hulls contain natural compounds with insecticidal properties which can be harnessed for use in pest control products or as a natural means to repel pests in gardens and agricultural settings.
What is the future price of walnut?
The global walnut market is projected to experience growth due to the increasing consumer preference for nutritious foods and food ingredients as part of a healthy lifestyle.
This rise in demand comes from the increasing popularity of convenience foods and a growing population willing to invest in nutritious products.
Additionally, the widespread adoption of walnuts in the cosmetics and personal care sector, along with their expanding usage in traditional confectioneries, savory snacks, and ready-to-eat meals, contributes to walnuts’ market expansion.
Thus, the export price per kilogram of walnuts could be around $5.18-$6.00 in 2028.