MWA: Murray Wise Associates

The California Central Valley “Snack Pack”

If you’re anything like us, as you’ve grown older, you’ve tried to eat a little healthier. You may have replaced some unhealthy snacks with nuts or a piece of fruit.

The 3 p.m. Twinkie has become the 3 p.m. mandarin orange or a handful of walnuts, almonds or pistachios. We know we’re not alone in this.  With new high-dollar ad campaigns by brands such as Wonderful Halos, Sun Pacific’s Cuties and the California Walnut Board – plus more focus on a healthy diet – Americans are eating more and more crops grown in California’s Central Valley.

With the increased demand for these products, there has been an increase in supply trying to meet that demand. For example, in the last 10 years, walnut-bearing acreage in California has increased by 70,000 acres, and mandarin orange-bearing acreage has more than doubled.

Almonds and pistachios have also seen large increases in production. The California almond crop regularly tops 2 billion pounds annually, and the pistachio crop has grown to over 700 million pounds annually, up from around 300 million pounds just 10 years ago.

Don’t bet on the growth of these industries slowing anytime soon, with well-heeled marketing campaigns in place, a health food trend that continues to boom, and the popular opinion that these are some of the tastiest products in the world.

If we’ve learned anything from these numbers, it’s that there are a lot more people like us snacking on the fruits and nuts of California’s Central Valley – or as we like to call it, our afternoon California Snack Pack.