Revised November, 2021.
Approximately 99 percent of U.S. pistachios are produced in California. Pistachios were produced on 372,000 acres in 2020, producing a total of 1.05 billion pounds of pistachios, resulting in large sales for the United States pistachio industry (NASS 2021).
Most pistachios are sold as shelled nuts. In 2020, 865 million pounds of shelled pistachios were sold, while only 180 million pounds were sold unshelled (NASS 2021).
The unshelled nuts are primarily sold for domestic consumption as a roasted and salted snack food. A smaller portion of nuts – often those that are not usable for non-manufactured snacks because they have not split or are badly stained – are used as ingredients in candies, baked goods, ice cream, confectioneries and flavorings. They can also be added to dressings, casseroles and other dishes.
Nutritionally, they boast 12 grams of protein in a 2-ounce serving, which is more than a similar-size serving of cooked halibut; 6 grams of fiber, which is three times more than a similar-size serving of broccoli; and 570 milligrams of potassium, which is more than one large banana. (APGA)
Value-added products pistachio paste and pistachio oil are expanding in the export and ethnic markets.
Package design is a needed component in the industry, because pistachios are sold in many different sizes – from snack packs to bulk – and different purposes.
Pistachios are mechanically shaken from the trees and are sent to processing mills to be hulled and dried.
There are 13 farms that process pistachios on site, according to the American Pistachio Growers Association. Because pistachios must be processed within 12 to 24 hours after harvesting, growers should have a processing facilities nearby.
Establishing processing facilities and or co-op processing facilities would be an added enterprise for the industry to efficiently handle projected future demand.
The United States is generally the second-leading producer and exporter of pistachios behind Iran, providing 24 percent of the world total.
The leading destination for pistachio exports was Hong Kong, followed by Belgium. A majority of shipments to Hong Kong are re-exported to China where consumers are increasingly looking for this product in baked and confectionary goods. China, Netherlands and Canada are also significant markets for U.S. pistachios. (FAS)
Helpful enterprise budget for pistachios:
- 2015 Sample Costs to Establish and Produce Pistachios using Low-Volume Irrigation in the San Joaquin Valley - South, University of California Cooperative Extension.
Administrative Committee for Pistachios.
American Pistachio Growers
California Pistachio Research Board
Foreign Ag Service (FAS), USDA.
Noncitrus Fruits and Nuts, National Agricultural Statistical Service (NASS), USDA