Pecan Consumption Continues to Soar

April 10, 2015

Pecan consumption continues to increase at a record pace. Based on the recent Cold Storage figures (released 3/23/15) and the Foreign Ag Statistics figures released last Thursday, pecan exports are up 38.5% with China accounting for 54% of all US pecan exports (inshell basis). Year to date, exports to China are up 71% over the same period a year ago with inshell shipments to China (China/Hong Kong/Vietnam) accounting for 83% of total US inshell exports.  Further, shipments of shelled meats to China are also up dramatically; 119%.

Increases in inshell shipments weren’t the only good news. Worldwide, consumption of shelled meats is up almost 20%.  US pecan consumption is up as well; 10% over the same period a year ago.

Turning to the Cold Storage figures, it would appear that the industry inventory has peaked. This is not surprising considering the significant increase in consumption and the fact that the crop was considerably smaller than originally forecast. Shipments from Mexico have decreased dramatically with meats from US inshell sent across the border for shelling accounting for 23% of the meats that came back into the US during the month of February.  Only 533,000 lbs. of inshell and 5.6 million pounds of shelled meats came across the border in March down from the 9.3 million pounds of meats that crossed the border in December and the 8.2 million pounds that crossed in January.  With fewer cheap pecans crossing the border, Sheller’s continue to raise their prices. Over the past three months, the price of pieces has risen almost $1.00/lb.  With several major Sheller’s now off the market on pieces, prices should continue to firm as uncommitted inventories dry up.  If consumption continues at its current pace, September 30 Carry-Out could be below 110 million pounds.

Finally, since the annual Pecan Sheller’s meeting, I have fielded several calls relative to the proposed industry marketing order; specifically, the collection of the proposed assessment.  I would caution all involved not to get tied up in semantics.  When using the words ‘pay’ and ‘assessed,’ there is a legal definition and a practical definition.  Now is not the time to lose sight of that. Based on the experiences of the almond and walnut industries, the mechanics of the practical definition will become evident once the order is in place. The industry needs this marketing order. For the benefit of everyone, let’s make sure it gets passed.