Trends in Nut Production and Consumption
The demand for nuts is ever increasing, and so is the production. This is because nuts are beneficial to human health and are an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and antioxidants. Nuts also help control the sugar level in the body. The demand for nuts outweighs the production which is leading high consuming countries to import from high producing countries. Although there is a significant increase in the production, there are also factors that hinder the production. These include global warming, unfavorable climate, and desertification.
The European Union is the largest market for edible nuts in the world, representing more than 40% of the total world imports. Import volumes are steadily increasing. Large importing and consuming markets such as the Netherlands, Germany, France and the UK offer opportunities for exporters from developing countries. Natural, low-sugar and safe products are the main trends supporting the increasing consumption of edible nuts and dried fruit.
The general quality requirement for all dried fruit and nuts is that products should be of “sound, fair and marketable quality” and bear the full name of their country of origin. Fruit and vegetables that are not covered by a specific standard must meet the general standard – or the applicable UNECE standard. Operators are free to choose which standards they would use in their business practice.
The most common quality requirements for edible nuts and dried fruit are the following:
- moisture content (maximum level is defined for specific products);
- sizing (different for every type of dried fruit and nuts);
- specific cut (for certain types of dried fruit);
- level and types of used preservatives;
- quality class (defined by uniformity and tolerances).