Pecan Growth During the 2020-21 Year and Projections for 2021-22

Based on the August 2021 Year-End Inventory Report, the total U.S. crop came in at roughly 330 million pounds, one of the highest reported crops thus far compared to previous crop years (all photos courtesy American Pecan Council.)

Every year, the American Pecan Council (APC) as the Federal Marketing Order (FMO) for the U.S. pecan industry creates a marketing policy statement that includes recaps and projections for the upcoming fiscal year. Each year, these marketing policy statements are approved during the August council meeting in preparation for the pecan industry’s new fiscal year beginning October 1. In this article, we will dive into some key data and analytics of the U.S. pecan industry gathered this past year and visit the current projections for the 2021-22 crop year.

Low Consumption with More Supply Coming
When the pecan industry came together and formed the FMO, pecans came in at 15% top-of-mind awareness among U.S. consumers. Prior to the FMO, research showed that U.S. pecan consumption was stagnant while other tree nuts with established programs were experiencing growth. We saw from this research that there would be exponential growth in global pecan supply, almost double by the year 2027. At the current rates without the FMO, global pecan supply was projected to exceed demand by 15%. With that being said, the U.S. pecan industry, across 15 different states, came together and unified marketing efforts to combat the supply growth and raise top-of-mind awareness for and overall consumption of pecans. The marketing strategy from the start of the FMO was to echo these efforts and goals.

Data illuminated the beginning success of the young FMO work. In the first two years, pecan consumption increased 16%. Since then, consumption has continued to climb by 20%. The increase in consumption and demand means more product is moving from the supply that is only projected to go up. We will take a look at the movement of handler inventory later in this article.

2020-21 Crop Size
Because mandatory data is new for the pecan industry, the FMO is still establishing baselines and trends from the current data received. Based on the August 2021 Year-End Inventory Report, the total U.S. crop came in at roughly 330 million pounds. This is one of the highest reported crops thus far compared to previous crop years, further driving home how necessary it is to offset growing supply with increased demand for pecans.

Growth Despite a Pandemic
In 2020, COVID-19 brought the food service industry to a near stop. This affected food industries across the world. With the projected global pecan supply, it was a concern that this new hurdle would also put a halt in the movement of inventory. With stay-at-home orders and scaled-back gatherings leading to people staying home and cooking more, it was imperative to reach consumers right where they were. Pecan’s digital marketing strategy aligned well with the adjusted consumer behaviors to continue to keep pecans top-of-mind and move the pecan crop production through the pandemic. Below is some industry data that highlights these efforts.

Pecan Industry Position Reports
The first annual industry report was published for the 2016 crop year. The first monthly data reports were published for the 2018 crop year. This data has been crucial to the industry for setting baselines and to begin tracking and analyzing trends. These reports include stats on shelled meat and inshell shipments, inventory, commitments, net open position at the end of each month, imports and exports. On top of that, APC gathers data on product that is shipped to Mexico to be shelled and then returned as shelled meats so that it is not double counted as an export and import, a common occurrence in the industry.

Total shipments were up from 233 million pounds in the 2019 crop year to 433 million pounds in the 2020 crop year. When we focus in on the total inshell retail/grocery/wholesale/export shipments, we see an increase of 48% from the 2019-20 crop year.

As of August 31, 2021, the net open position, which represents how much uncommitted inventory was out and available for the marketplace, was down 19% from the 2019 crop year. This is encouraging because it shows inventory is moving and combatting potential of excess supply.

On top of that, pecan’s total exports for the 2020-21 crop have increased from prior crop years. Some of the top exporting countries were China, Canada, Germany, Mexico, France, South Korea, U.K., Italy and Spain.

Current Crop Sizing Projections
APC has projected a total of 315 million pounds for the 2021-22 crop year, which takes into account that pecans are an alternate bearing crop. The feedback received thus far regarding this year’s crop, which began September 1, 2021, is that harvest started later than usual and the crop is coming in slow compared to prior years. We don’t quite know if the delayed start has affected the crop yet. We will continue to monitor the crop size through the year. You can view the pecan industry’s monthly position reports at under the data and analytics tab.

We would love to hear from you! If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Council office or email Director of Industry Relations Emma Garner at