With more than 47,000 hectares of planted area as of 2019, Chile is one of the largest producers of walnuts in the world with South America, Europe and the Middle East as its biggest export markets.
CHILENUT, the association of walnut processors and exporters, hopes to increase its share in Asia, particularly in Japan, where walnuts are viewed as a superfood that reduces heart disease, prevents diabetes and improves motor and cognitive skills.
Since it was founded in 2002, Chilenut has brought together domestic growers and exporters to develop the industry.
Marketing Head Juan Pablo Costabal said through advanced research and technology, promotional efforts and strict quality control, the group ensures that the sector has managed to meet global demand and customer expectations.
“Chile is a country that can offer walnuts in the counter season from traditional California walnuts supply. The quality is great and the suppliers know the requirements that Japan needs,” Costabal said.
With the growing demand for fresh walnuts all year round, the southern hemisphere harvest period from March to April and processing (hand cracking, as well as machine cracking) taking place from March to November, provides a counter-seasonal fresh option for consumers on the other side of the world.
Currently, there are many companies in Chile that export walnuts around the world. The largest of those exporters, all members of Chilenut, have successfully penetrated new markets, particularly Japan, because they invested in new technology and implement the highest standards for sanitary processes.