The global pistachio market expanded slightly to $10.6B in 2019, growing by 4% against the previous year. This figure reflects the total revenues of producers and importers (excluding logistics costs, retail marketing costs, and retailers’ margins, which will be included in the final consumer price). In general, consumption showed resilient growth, driven by both the increases in prices and in the volume of consumption in physical terms. 

Pistachios are a well-known product in the Middle East and in the U.S. where they are largely grown. Being imported, the product is also widely consumed worldwide.  Thus, the countries with the highest volumes of pistachio consumption in 2019 were Iran (490K tonnes), Turkey (263K tonnes) and the U.S. (255K tonnes), with a combined 67% share of global consumption.

From 2013 to 2019, the biggest increases were in Iran, while pistachio consumption for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest pistachio markets worldwide were Iran ($3.7B), the U.S. ($2B) and Turkey ($1.6B), with a combined 69% share (IndexBox estimates) of the global market. 

The countries with the highest levels of pistachio per capita consumption in 2019 were Iran (5.90 kg per person), Turkey (3.18 kg per person) and Hong Kong SAR (3.12 kg per person).

Like other nuts, pistachios are consumed primarily as a snack. In addition, thanks to its distinctive taste, flavor and color, those nuts are widely used in pistachio-flavored products, in a bid to benefit on flavor. The changing consumer lifestyle, rapid urbanization and increasing disposable incomes promote the demand for on-the-go healthy convenience foods and snacks which includes pistachios. Moreover, the nuts also are recognized by vegan and highly health-conscious consumers.

Accordingly, population growth remains a fundamental market driver, combined with increases in disposable income, which in turn will contribute to enhanced consumer spending. Increasing preference for healthy food and rising health awareness is also supporting the pistachio market growth.

Until 2020, the global economy has been developing steadily for five years, which created a favorable environment for the pistachio market growth. In early 2020, however, the global economy entered a period of the crisis caused by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to battle the spread of the virus, most countries in the world implemented quarantine measures that put on halt production and transport activity, which undermined economic growth heavily throughout the world. 

In the context of falling incomes, consumers primarily tend to exclude non-staple goods from purchases, which include pistachios. Thus, a sharp drop in household incomes is a powerful factor that will restrain the pistachios market in the medium term. In addition, the closure of the HoReCa sector limits the growth in the consumption of pistachios as ingredients for various foods and snacks.

In the countries of the Middle East, where pistachios are locally available and are staple food products, the impact of the crisis on domestic demand should be less significant. At the same time, the pistachios industry in large producing countries (the U.S., Iran, Turkey) is largely export-oriented, therefore, a decrease in demand in non-producing countries can hurt local producers. 

Given the above-mentioned prerequisites, the global pistachio market is expected to contract somewhat in 2020 and then to begin a slow growth on the backdrop of a gradual recovery of the global economy from the pandemic. In the medium term, the market is expected to grow modestly, with an anticipated CAGR of +1.1% for the period from 2019 to 2030, which is projected to bring the market volume to 1.7M tonnes by the end of 2030.

In 2019, approx. 1.5M tonnes of pistachios were produced worldwide; growing by 8.1% compared with 2018. Over the period under review, the total production indicated a prominent expansion from 2013 to 2019: its volume increased at an average annual rate of +13.8% over the last six-year period. The generally positive trend in terms of pistachio output was largely conditioned by the strong growth of the harvested area and a buoyant expansion in yield figures.

The countries with the highest volumes of pistachio production in 2019 were Iran (571K tonnes), the U.S. (484K tonnes) and Turkey (267K tonnes), together accounting for 88% of global production.

Harvested area and yield
In 2019, the global harvested area of pistachios rose rapidly to 804K ha, increasing by 6.6% against 2018 figures. The harvested area increased at an average annual rate of +5.7% over the period from 2013 to 2019. In 2019, the global average pistachio yield amounted to 1.9 tonnes per ha, stabilizing at the previous year’s figure. Over the period under review, the yield indicated resilient growth from 2013 to 2019: its figure increased at an average annual rate of +7.7% over the last six-year period.

In 2019, approx. 439K tonnes of pistachios were imported worldwide; surging by 15% compared with the previous year’s figure. The total import volume increased at an average annual rate of +3.2% over the period from 2013 to 2019. In value terms, pistachio imports rose significantly to $3.4B (IndexBox estimates) in 2019. 

Imports by country
In 2019, China (113K tonnes), distantly followed by Hong Kong SAR (65K tonnes), Germany (45K tonnes) and India (23K tonnes) were the largest importers of pistachios, together constituting 56% of total imports. Italy (18K tonnes), Belgium (15K tonnes), Spain (15K tonnes), Russia (10K tonnes), Saudi Arabia (10K tonnes), Israel (9.8K tonnes), Luxembourg (8.5K tonnes) and France (8.3K tonnes) occupied a little share of total imports.

From 2013 to 2019, the most notable rate of growth in terms of purchases, amongst the main importing countries, was attained by China, while imports for the other global leaders experienced more modest paces of growth.

In value terms, the largest pistachio importing markets worldwide were China ($809M), Hong Kong SAR ($496M) and Germany ($436M), with a combined 51% share of global imports.

Import prices by country
In 2019, the average pistachio import price amounted to $7,794 per tonne, falling by -2.4% against the previous year. Global import price peaked at $8,208 per tonne in 2015; however, from 2016 to 2019, import prices stood at a somewhat lower figure.

There were significant differences in the average prices amongst the major importing countries. In 2019, the country with the highest price was Italy ($10,948 per tonne), while Israel ($4,799 per tonne) was amongst the lowest.

IndexBox Report: