Why are nuts so expensive right now?

Since walnuts only produce a small yield, that means the supply is extremely low. Because the demand for nuts is high, the low supply causes their prices to rise. Nuts are expensive because they don't produce high yields like other crops. Like all walnuts, nut prices have increased because they are in more demand than they used to be.

Like pecans, they are grown high in trees and produce a small yield, making work and harvesting more of a chore. Nuts have changed from fatty, unhealthy foods to healthy, crunchy snacks. This drives up the price, as healthy foods are in greater demand than ever before. Walnuts are expensive to buy, because they are expensive to produce.

Unlike cereals, legumes, and most vegetables, you have to plant the trees and let them grow for a few years before you get a harvest. So for a farmer, those are years when the land is in use, and the trees need water and care, but the farmer still doesn't get anything in return. Now the same goes for most fruits, but then we move on to the next expense, harvesting the nuts and processing them. Many nuts grow inside a shell that needs to be removed, and many nuts are also sold shelled.

And both add time and expense to nuts. Add that some nuts need very specific growing conditions and that some are especially problematic to harvest (cashew nuts, for example) and you can see why nuts tend to be a more expensive food. Why are walnuts so expensive? In general, walnuts are expensive because they only produce a small yield and take a long time to grow. Another reason is that most nuts are imported and difficult to grow.

However, all of these factors come with a host of health benefits. Therefore, they give excellent value to nuts. Like almond and pistachio trees, walnut trees require specific conditions. They are also grown mainly in California and are therefore affected by the ongoing drought.

There is no doubt that the price of nuts has increased since nuts have been known as healthy foods. For nut lovers everywhere, price is a small consideration when compared to the health and pleasure benefits they get from having high-quality walnuts on hand for chopping, baking, cooking, and pampering. Nuts can be expensive, Malik says, but peanuts are cheaper than many of the other nuts out there. Most vendors have to hire workers to manually pick Brazil nuts because Brazil nut farms are difficult, if not impossible, to manage.

However, while some nuts are expensive, they're also nutritious, healthy, and good for you (see our nut and pecan health guide). I'm not sure if this is universal, but my grocery store sells nuts in the baking section and they're always much cheaper than nuts in the snack section. In short, it has to do with how difficult it is to grow those pecan trees and, in some cases, harvesting the nuts can be difficult. This is a very special nut that will only grow under special conditions, and the price of a pound of Brazil nuts reflects that.

Estelle Shawcroft
Estelle Shawcroft

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