This year’s timely rains are bringing Texas a fruitful recovery of its pecan industry. So much so, Texas is expecting a pecan yield two times bigger than last year’s. Agricultural officials expect Texas to produce 65 million pounds of nuts!
Under usual economic circumstances, a greater supply would mean a lower cost. But this will not be the case this holiday season. The nut indigenous to Texas land and pivotal to Thanksgiving Day feasts has a new market—China. In fact, last year the U.S. exported roughly 80 million pounds of pecans to China. The increase of international interest in the pecan is expected to keep demand high, and thus retail prices up for the American consumer.
There are several suspected reasons as to why the fruit of our state tree has become popular in China. There has been an increased knowledge of its health benefits (helps prevent heart disease and cholesterol, and is loaded with anti-oxidants); there is a growing Chinese middle class that have a keen interest in Western American food; the Chinese have acquired a preference for pecans over their traditional hickory nut.
The U.S. expects to export nearly a third of its pecan yields to China this year, and Texas is expected to produce a large piece of the pecan pie. So although Texas’s pecan industry is healthy again, don’t expect the fall favorite to go down in price. Hopefully, this international market won’t displace American consumers.