Total consumption within the Chinese nuts market increased by 3% in 2012 to reach a total of 6.7 million tonnes. This accelerated growth arose from rapid urbanisation and improving living standards, because nuts were consumed more as snacks which were beneficial for health. However, other than peanuts, the demand for nuts was still small.
According to a recent market report, 'Nuts in China,' peanuts still accounted for 55% of all nuts consumed in China in 2012, for reasons including that they are easy to grow, they have multiple uses in traditional Chinese cuisine, such as kung pao chicken and various soups, as well as lower unit prices.
They are available in every Chinese restaurant, from small eateries to high-end restaurants, as a side food, and are easy to preserve as dried nuts.
Other nuts gained a share of total volume sales between 2008 and 2012, as consumers' demand for exotic and new tastes increased. Walnuts continued to see the fastest total volume growth of 11% in 2012, followed by coconuts with a 9% increase. Imported almond seeds were also welcomed by middle-income Chinese families and older people, as they are good for the health.
Attracted by their perceived health benefits, the Chinese are gobbling up pecans from the United States in record amounts. Last year saw a staggering 64% jump in pecan exports to Hong Kong, according to the latest numbers from the Southern United States Trade Association.
The trend started a few years back. In 2007, the price of walnuts -- previously a favourite in China -- spiked. So the Chinese went searching for a more affordable nut. They found the US pecan, which accounts for 80% of worldwide supply.
The total volume compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for nuts over the next five years is expected to be 3%. However, the development of processing technology will enable packaged nuts to take share, as they can be eaten right away.
In addition, increasing disposable incomes and rising concern about healthy eating will encourage consumers to buy packaged nuts from supermarkets, without considering the higher unit price.
For more information on the Chinese nuts market, see the latest research: Chinese Nuts Market
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