Investments in branding, marketing, and distribution help to explain the growing popularity of pistachios.
The Branding Challenge
Because nuts are an agricultural commodity, suppliers may have difficulty differentiating their products and gaining traction in the marketplace, particularly if they lack the capacity to invest heavily in marketing. For example, proprietary branding is not prominent with nuts such as walnuts and pecans due to the absence of dominant firms, among other factors. While trade organizations exist for each major nut (e.g., Almond Board of California, American Pecan Council, and California Walnut Board) and engage in some marketing activities, they do not create brands. However, some companies attempt to cultivate strong brands to gain market share and command higher margins. For instance, Planters (Kraft Heinz), a leading supplier that offers peanuts and a multitude of other nuts and seeds, represents the most frequently purchased nut brand according to consumer surveys. Part of the reason for its popularity includes the significant sums invested in marketing and distribution. Blue Diamond (Blue Diamond Growers) ranks as a popular brand of almonds for similar reasons, in addition to being a large supplier.
Strong Pistachio Performance
Over the 2007-2017 period, pistachio demand expanded due to a growing consumer preference for this nut and a large production increase in 2016 that supported demand in 2016 and 2017. Demand in value terms rose at an average annual rate of 12% over the decade, bolstered by 7.9% annual demand growth in volume terms and 4.0% average yearly price growth. Per-capita pistachio consumption saw the fastest growth among the major nut products over the 2007-2017 period, reaching about 0.3 pounds per person in 2017.
Pistachio Branding Takes Off
Part of the explanation for the relatively rapid gains in pistachio demand include efforts by The Wonderful Company, a major pistachio supplier, to market its Wonderful Pistachios via investment in numerous television, internet, and other media advertising initiatives. For instance, in October 2016, The Wonderful Company announced a $55 million television advertising campaign, a continuation of a marketing initiative featuring its “Get Crackin’” commercials that star various celebrities. Part of this campaign, starting in September 2017, includes television commercials aired during football games featuring prominent players. In addition, the company has expanded distribution to sports stadiums, convenience stores, and more grocery stores. In part due to these marketing initiatives, a 2017 press release by the company stated that Wonderful Pistachios represent one of the fastest-growing snack brands in the US.
For more insights into the US nuts and seeds market, see Nuts & Seeds: United States, a report published by the Freedonia Focus Reports division of The Freedonia Group. This report forecasts to 2022 US nut and seed demand in nominal US dollars valued at the prices received by US suppliers at the point of first sale (i.e., farmer or processor level) and in pounds on a shelled (i.e., without shells) basis. Total demand in nominal US dollars and pounds is segmented by product in terms of:
- other nuts such as hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, and pine nuts
- seeds, consisting of sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and sesame seeds
To illustrate historical trends, total demand in value and volume terms, total production in value and volume terms, the various demand segments, and prices are provided in annual series from 2007 to 2017.
Related Focus Reports include:
About the Author
Leon Mengri is a Senior Market Research Analyst with Freedonia Focus Reports. He conducts research and writes a variety of Focus Reports, which offer concise overviews of market size, product segmentation, business trends, and more.