It’s no surprise to most pecan growers across the southern US, that pecan inventories are increasing over last year’s volumes, but the lack of interest among commercial buyers and the wholesale pecan market is another thing altogether.
The spread Covid-19 and the ensuing lockdowns across the globe have food and ingredient buyers exercising precautions when it comes to making purchases. With the restaurant industry still in turmoil and businesses continuing to close and more expected to close through the winter months, consumer habits have shifted to more cooking at home and delivery services are having trouble keeping up.
The shift in consumer purchasing has been difficult for some businesses to keep up with while others who have managed to adapt have seen an uptick in business. The businesses who have been able to embrace the shift to online purchasing and delivery services have seen sales increase through the global outbreak and will likely see these trends continue long after the Covid-19 virus is a distant memory.
Pecan inventories in the US are trending 10% higher than last year at the same time. With Georgia harvesting a “heavy crop” after 2 years of recovery, inventories were expected to increase over last year.
But the lack of interest from commercial and wholesale buyers is a bit of a surprise. Growers in Georgia have seen little to no interest in many of their pecans sales so far this year. Growers are having a hard time finding buyers for their commercial auctions. “There’s just nobody buying” says one south Georgia grower. “We normally get six to eight bids on em, we’re lucky to get two right now”. When large lots of commercial pecans go up for sale, are buyers come to inspect the pecans and make a bid on the lots. This year very few buyers are out making the rounds and even fewer bids.
Pecans are being purchased, but at a much more conservative pace than in previous years. Mexican pecan imports are still going strong with 68,000,000 pounds being imported since August**. By comparison US pecan growers have only been able to sell 6,636,316 pounds of pecans in the last two months.* With China still sitting on the sidelines US growers have fewer options for selling wholesale quantities of pecans. China has re-entered the market slowly this year, since prices have dropped to 10 year lows Chinese buyers are buying at bargain prices compared to 3 short years ago, but the interest is welcomed. With few other buyers making the rounds many growers have opted to go straight to cold storage with their crop.