Demand for California Walnuts continues to grow as the new harvest gets underway

With the new harvest starting in late August, the 2018/19 year-to-date results (to 31st August) show that the UK demand for ‘shelled’ California Walnuts has grown substantially.

UK shipment figures to 31st August highlight a year-on-year increase for ‘shelled’ California Walnuts of over 15%. This equates to an uplift of 1,358,293 pounds, or just over 616 metric tonnes (MT)* – representing a significant increase on 2017/18.

CWC comments, ‘While California Walnuts have faced some adverse tariff challenges this past crop season, in other export markets globally the situation created opportunities for growth – like in the UK’.

Meanwhile as part of the California Walnut Commission’s active export marketing programmes, a number of initiatives continue to inspire and encourage the UK food industry to use more California Walnuts.

BEING INSPIRED… Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2019.

California Walnuts welcomed and encouraged visitors to ‘Be Inspired’ at the 20th Anniversary Speciality & Fine Food Fair. Visitors were treated to a first-hand experience of the superior quality, unique taste and versatility. The California Walnut Commission (CWC) showcased a variety of retail products, offered the opportunity to sample CA Walnuts and also learn about what makes them so special.

Inspiring New Products

CWC supported the Whitworths’ launch of a new range of snacks under the brand Gloriously Grown. These snacks feature the California Red ‘Livermore’ variety Walnuts and Sorbet Raisins and were displayed on the CA Walnut stand. The UK CWC team has also recently been working with BNUTZ, the artisan nut butter producer, that created a product with California Walnuts as a core ingredient. BNUTZ uses premium organic ingredients, ethically sourced and free from palm oil, preservatives and refined sugar.

Elena Attanasio, Event Manager of Speciality & Fine Food Fair, commented: “We were really happy to welcome California Walnuts back to the Fair. Nuts are a major component of both the healthy eating and plant-food movement: California Walnuts offer retailers and hospitality business owners alike the perfect opportunity to take advantage of these key consumer trends with a premium snacking product or ingredient for sweet, savoury or meat-free recipes.”

[*EFSA approved health claim / As part of a balanced diet and a healthy lifestyle].
CWC Comments

Pamela Graviet, Sr. Marketing Director, International at the California Walnut Commission on the latest news from California Walnut growers in terms of improvements and investments – “The Californian Walnut industry has invested in production research for the past 50 years developing and testing technologies for the future of walnut farming that include improved orchard management, entomology, plant pathology & nematology – as well as breeding through time-honoured traditions (no GMO) to develop stronger, more pest and disease resistant trees as well as new varieties. For more than 25 years, California Walnuts has been a leader in scientific research to gain better understanding and knowledge of the nutritional value of walnuts and explore the role of walnuts in a healthy diet.”

What new walnut trends would you like to see in the future? “A trend we would like to see is having consumers storing their walnuts properly at home to keep them as fresh as possible. The healthy plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids that make them so good for you also make them susceptible to a shorter shelf life. It’s best to keep them in the fridge for up to 6 months and in the freezer for up to 1 year.”

Peter Meadows from The Garden Marketing & PR, the trade representative for California Walnuts in the UK, says: “Our goal is to convey to the market that California Walnuts offer a number of attributes, over other origins – great taste, consistency, ideal for flavouring and texture profiles, always high quality and available all year. California Walnuts are so incredibly flexible that they can enhance the taste and texture of a wide range of products. We want the trade to understand why they should specify California as their origin of choice”.

The general trend towards more plant-based eating has undoubtedly helped garner further interest in nuts generally, and the versatility of California Walnuts are perfectly positioned to take advantage of these NPD trends in the UK in the future.

Meadows continues, “We are actively working with retailers to launch new walnut-based products in the UK. Currently there are a number of live campaigns running with leading retailers in the UK, as these gather momentum throughout the remainder 2019 the ultimate aim is to inform consumers that there are a variety of ways in which to consume California Walnuts, not only as snacks and in baking, which are the more ‘traditional’ uses for the product”.

Inspiring Good Health

The CWC actively promotes the benefits of California Walnuts to the UK trade and consumers through a wide range of marketing activities. A key objective of the UK consumer communications activities involves supporting health research and publicising the numerous health benefits of California Walnuts.

For more than 25 years, the CWC has supported health-related research on walnuts investing close to $20 million in 11 countries, working with over 55 institutions and universities. More than 160 scientific publications have helped to provide knowledge and understanding of the unique health benefits associated with consuming walnuts. The results support health claims in both the EU and the US.

California Walnuts’ research resulted in the *EU confirming the claim that ‘a handful of walnuts a day (30 grams) can have a positive effect on the elasticity of the blood vessels and can thus help with keeping the cardiovascular system healthy’.

Sarah Maren Photography

Looking ahead to November, CWC will be exhibiting at the Food Matters Live exhibition (19-20th November) taking place at the London ExCeL Centre.

The focus for CWC will be on inspiring the trade and encouraging the industry to see California Walnuts in a different light and how the walnuts from California can be used in a variety of ways.

Why California Walnuts?

The Central Valley in California provides ideal conditions to sustainably grow superior walnuts. Walnuts from California are generally lighter in colour and have a sweet-mild taste with a soft creamy texture, which makes them a versatile ingredient for flavour profiles, and texture in recipes as well as processed products. California Walnuts go through stringent handling processes which set them apart from other walnuts in the market.

California Walnuts have tremendous versatility and can be used throughout the day in a variety of dishes. They can even act as a substitute for ground meat – for recipe ideas and inspiration visit californiawalnuts.co.uk.

To receive details on future California Walnut stories and trade initiatives, sign up for the UK newsletter here.

For further information please contact the California Walnut Commission [email protected].