We all know that the best hazelnuts in the world are grown right here in Oregon, but it is indeed a global commodity. Events on the other side of the world can have big impacts – both positive and negative on our business here at home. We monitor the global markets and news for hazelnuts via regular news media as well as specialized commodity intelligence resources to make sure we are up to date and prepared to make appropriate decisions.
We currently remain in a challenging global environment for hazelnuts. Turkey remains the price setter with a currency worth 50% less than it was two years ago. It is expected to decline even further as Turkey experiences tensions with the US over new sanctions against Iran. The Turkish association continues to sell, depressing prices further, in a period of robust demand when we would normally expect prices to rise.
New crop estimates for Turkey will be available later but currently, stand at 800,000 tons. Spot prices offered seem to indicate traders anticipate a further decline in Lira.
We are also seeing increased acres in Georgia and Azerbaijan adding to potential future supplies. Domestic hazelnut interest is spreading with active breeding projects in New Jersey and Minnesota. We will continue to monitor and rely on the advice of Dr. Mehlenbacher at OSU to keep abreast of breeding programs.
The good news is that overall demand is strong and growing and there is a market for consumption of the global supply at current levels. We remain excited about the growing awareness and upcoming launches of new hazelnut products in the US consumer market. We believe that continuing to focus on the North American market for processed / value-added hazelnuts represents the best path forward in these uncertain times.