Why Are Pecans So Expensive? (Explanation)

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The demand for pecans has been on the rise for the last few years, and this keeps pushing the prices up. Many nut lovers have come to appreciate their benefits. However, the demand has not translated into increased production.

With many people turning to natural foods and nuts, in particular, this has strained nut production.

The price of pecans is determined by the prevailing market forces of supply and demand. When the produced nuts do not satisfy the market needs, prices increase, affecting the supply chain.

However, this only partially explains why pecans are so expensive.

Factors Affecting Pecan Prices

As a consumer, you might not know what goes into the planting, maturing, and harvesting of pecan nuts. The entire process is labor-intensive with high overheads. These determine the price of the end product in the market.

With half of the total pecan production based in the U.S., much of it is exported overseas, with China importing the bulk of the produce. The Chinese population is growing as such, and the demand for this rare nut is too.

A lot of effort goes into pecan orchards. From planting to harvesting, many farmers opt for fast-maturing nuts.

Pecan Demand And Supply Push And Pull

Pecans are seasonal, and the tree takes over 10 years to mature and start producing the prized nuts.

Harvesting is sometimes disrupted by the extended wet season, which creates distribution gaps in the market and causes price increases. Many retailers opt to buy the product during bumper harvest and sell when the market is scarce.

This makes pecans so expensive. If you want to get cheap pecan nuts, the best time to buy them is when the market is saturated.

However, this becomes a demand and supply push and pull scenario prompting the pecan price to skyrocket.

Lack Of Pecan Price Support From The State

Despite their health benefits, pecans’ prices are not supported by the government. The nuts are classified under luxury products and left to the market forces to determine the price’s direction.

If the price is centrally controlled, the nut price can significantly be lowered. When the pecan market lacks control, the price is highly dictated by the middlemen.

You are left to decide whether to buy the product or not.

Given the time it takes to mature a pecan orchard, the farmer has to look for ways to recoup their input in the shortest time possible, explaining partly why pecans are expensive.

Pecan Advertising And Pricing

Pecans are packaged as luxury nuts. You have to pay a premium price to get them from the local store.

Pecan advertisements portray the nuts as premium, which has created a route to the market targeting high-end consumers.

Secondly, not every store stocks the nuts; Its placement is in businesses that wealthy consumers who care about their health frequently visit.

Advertisements portray the pecan nut as a product rich in antioxidants.

What’s more, is that it’s popular to prolong life as well as an Alzheimer’s disease suppressant.

Pecan Growing Versus Demand

With the numerous health benefits that pecan nuts offer, the demand continues to rise, and so is the price. Pecans are slow growers, and the demand is moving at high speed, which is a natural catalyst for the nut’s pricing.

When pecan growing areas experience drought, the supply drops while demand spikes north taking with it the price. Farmers opt to grow fast-maturing nuts, thus avoiding pecans.

This makes consumers rush for the little that is available in stores. On the other hand, pest pressure has always affected both the quality and quantity of pecans produced.

This determines how expensive pecans are when they hit the market.

Uncertainty In The Pecan Market

Most of the pecans are produced in the United States and sold in the Chinese market. With the current trade disputes between the two countries, there is a lot of uncertainty in the market. The COVID-19 pandemic has made matters worse by disrupting the supply chain and driving up prices.

In 2019 the average price for pecan was $1.29 per lb but the entry of China into the market saw the price climb to $2.17 before putting in place trade tariffs.

With the pandemic, many consumers are not willing to buy due to market uncertainty. This has caused a deficit in the market, making pecans expensive. As the market remains unregulated, pecans will remain expensive.

However, the ripple effect does not stop with the retailer; the farmer also benefits when buying these nuts at a premium price.

The seller in an open market controlled the price, with the middle class being the target.

The Price You Pay

Understanding the process costs is necessary if you are concerned about the quality, freshness, and source of your food. Although pecans grow worldwide, they prefer a warmer climate with just the right amount of winter chill.

It takes ten years for pecan trees to fully mature and produce a crop. They need a lot of water, sunlight, and cool temperatures.

So when buying this very expensive nut, you may look for the following indicators so you’ll get the quality and freshness you paid for.

  • Color: The lighter color is a fresher color. A nut becomes more stale and tasteless the darker it becomes.
  • Size: The bigger the item, like pecans, the more expensive it is frequently. Compared to how they would appear right off the tree, many cheap, low-quality nuts will be small.
  • Odor: A plastic-like odor can be detected in older nuts that have gone rancid.
  • Taste: If a nut tastes bland or “off,” it is usually a sign that it is old or stale. Never expect a high-quality nut to be bland.
  • Packaging: It has been observed that low-quality nuts frequently come in packages that are full of small, broken pieces and, in some cases, even insects.

Conclusion

Pecans are not among the easiest plants to grow and nature. The time they take to mature and produce makes pecan nuts expensive and restricts the growth of new pecan trees.

As the global population continues to grow, the demand for pecan nuts will keep rising, and so will the price. If production does not satisfy the demand, pecans will remain paying higher prices. To tame the runaway pecan price, there is a need for a central authority to control or support the price like in the sugar industry.

However, growing pecans is labor-intensive, and high overheads are responsible for the price push. However, increasing the number of pecan orchards is the only way to access less expensive pecan nuts.

If you are looking for the benefits of this type of nut, you do not have to look at the price tag; focus on the value for your money.

Once you take a quick look at what goes into putting the nut on the table, you do not need to ask why pecans are expensive.

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