Hazelnuts are a miracle crop because of the peculiar, rich flavor they give to spreads, chocolate bars, and coffee. They are a great source of vitamins and protein. Their oil can be used as a biofuel and for cooking. And to top it off, hazelnut trees have several positive effects on the environment. Hazelnuts have several advantages over just their wonderful flavor. Including hazelnuts in one’s diet may enhance heart health, guard against oxidative stress, and lower blood sugar levels, claims Healthline. There are skinless and skin-on versions of raw hazelnuts available, so may choose either version. According to Healthline, the majority of hazelnut's antioxidants are found in these edible, papery films, even though the skin might have a bitter flavor. Since they grow predominantly in a single region of the world, they are particularly sensitive to climate change. The main hazelnut-producing countries are Turkey, Italy, Spain, and the USA. Turkey produces the majority of the world's hazelnuts, almost 70% of the total. With a 5% production share, the United States is the third-largest hazelnut producer. Oregon is the primary producer of hazelnuts in the U.S. which produces most of the hazelnuts consumed in the country. These hazelnuts are specifically cultivated in the Willamette Valley area. The famed Oregon Trail terminates in the Willamette Valley, which is why it is so well-known. Despite the end of the Westward Expansion era, Willamette Valley is still vital to the nation. The United States would not be able to cultivate as many hazelnuts without the Willamette Valley. Over 99 % of the hazelnuts produced in the United States are grown in the valley. Due to aged orchards, soil degradation, and subpar agricultural techniques, hazelnut output is slowing down, which is a worrying trend for customers and confectionery manufacturers that rely on these as ingredients.
The U.S. hazelnut crop was harmed by a violent windstorm in December 2022 that severely destroyed many tree branches, and by cold temperatures in February, as well as by unfavorable floods soon after. The USA's hazelnut export is also becoming more competitive due to increased Italian exports. Italian hazelnut is of a better caliber than American standards, making it simple to penetrate the EU's established U.S. markets. Most of the hazelnuts imported by the U.S. have come from Turkey, primarily as shelled goods. Hazelnuts ranked as the tenth most expensive nut in 2019 according to Money Inc., with average costs ranging from 61 to 91 cents per pound. Prices alone, however, are insufficient to stop customers. According to World Atlas, hazelnut consumption ranked sixth among all nuts in 2018 and shows no signs of slowing down. The hazelnut market may expand by about $2.5 billion between 2023 and 2026, according to Report Linker.
U.S. hazelnuts will likely cost between U.S.$ 1.27 and U.S.$ 2.86 per pound or U.S.$ 2.8 and U.S.$ 6.3 per kilogram wholesale in 2023. Over the past five years, there has been a consistent rise in the price of hazelnuts exported from the U.S., per kilogram. The price increased from 3.70 U.S. dollars per kilogram in 2016 to 5.10 US dollars per kg in 2021. At 4.55 U.S. dollars per kilogram, 2020 saw the highest price. Since then, the price has been gradually dropping, with the most recent price in 2022 being 5.07 U.S. dollars per kilogram. Based on this pattern, it is expected that the price of hazelnuts exported from the U.S. will be around 4.75 U.S. dollars per kg in 2024. However, the USDA recently published its 2023/24 hazelnut production estimate for Turkey, pegging the size of the crop at 600,000 tons.