With an expected record crop of 670,000 tons and the UK now the 11th most important export market, the future looks bright for California walnuts in the UK.
The last few years has seen an average 8% growth YOY in consumption of nuts and fruit based snacks as consumers move towards healthier options, particularly in retail.
The rise in demand has been driven to some extent by smaller pack sizes suggesting that consumers view nuts as convenient on the go alternatives to traditional pellet based snacks.
“There is a clear trend over the past 5 years for healthier snacking here in the UK” says Mark Setterfield, Managing Director of R.M. Curtis, one of the UK’s leading dried fruit and nut suppliers, “We are seeing more and more interest, not just in sales but in NPD, and there are many new brands coming onto the market“.
California walnuts, who announced a new promotional campaign following increased sales in the UK, remain an important part of R M Curtis’ product mix.
“There is no doubt that California walnuts represent the best quality. For our retail brand ‘Snacking Essentials’ both quality and consistency are key considerations, particularly when the walnuts are the only product in the bag!” said Setterfield “California walnuts have a richness and creaminess that you just don’t get consistently from other origins” he added “We’re looking forward to another good quality crop from California”.
99 per cent of US walnuts are grown in the central valley, California. The harvest is well underway for the 16-17 season and is expected to be fully complete in November.