Health-conscious Chinese deal with rising nut prices

Published December 2, 2019 by SoClaimon

#ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

Health-conscious Chinese deal with rising nut prices

Dec 02. 2019
By The Nation

987 Viewed

The price of edible nuts in China is rising due to increasing demand among health-conscious consumers.

Beijing in August imposed high import duties of up to 60 per cent on almonds in response to the United States’ punitive tariff actions, but they’re still flowing in from the US.

Meanwhile averse whether has curtailed almond production in China.

The price of almonds hit $3.60 per pound in July and is currently about $3.45, 15 per cent higher than the price this time last year. In May and June alone, the price rose by 8 per cent.

It’s estimated that the harvest completed in October will yield 2.3 billion-2.35 billion pounds of almonds, on target. The US produces about 80 per cent of the almonds consumed around the world, with California growing more than any other locale in the world.

While global demand for US almonds remains high, Americans are increasingly turning to almond milk and almond butter as healthier substitutes for their dairy counterparts, just as soy milk is preferred in the East.

Almond milk is free of cholesterol and gluten and is being touted as a “superfood” due to its claimed health benefits. It’s rich in antioxidants and Vitamin E, which help boost the immune system and reduce the risk of colon cancer. It has flavonoids that protect the walls of blood vessels, curbing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The fat in almonds is unsaturated, a good choice for reducing cholesterol, controlling blood sugar and lowering the risk of diabetes.

Almonds’ potassium content keeps blood pressure in check, reduces fatigue and, along with magnesium, is beneficial to bones and teeth.

The healthful appeal of almonds nevertheless didn’t stop Beijing from boosting import duties on US products from 50 to 60 per cent. It’s been claimed that imports dropped less than expected, though, with the California Almond Committee saying exports to China and Hong Kong up to August were down 25 per cent compared to the same month last year.

China also imports almonds from Australia, imposing no duties but paying a higher price – even though the nuts remain cheaper there than the US variety.

The US is also the world’s second-largest producer of walnuts, exports of which were forecast to drop to 570,000 tonnes in September due to bad weather in California. The price is currently $3.50 per pound, up 40 per cent from a year earlier.

China grows more walnuts than any other country, especially in Yunnan province, but traders lament that Chinese dessert makers prefer US walnuts, so American imports represent 70-75 per cent of the total consumed in China.

The price of cashew nuts is meanwhile currently declining, from about $5.50 per pound in 2018 to $4.10 currently.

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