Exports of pistachios rose in value by an overall average 5.8% since 2017 when export sales for pistachios were $3.42 billion.
Year over year, overall export revenues flatlined via a -2.6% drop from $3.72 billion in 2020 for the smoothly textured and slightly sweet seed.
About two-thirds (65.2%) of globally exported pistachios were in-shell compared to 34.8% sold with their shells removed.
Pistachios seeds come from the fruits of small desert trees highly tolerant of salt-water soil. The shells of the pistachio are often dyed from their natural beige color to a distinctive red or green for commercial sale.
Consumers eat pistachios raw or roasted and salted. Pistachio nuts are key ingredients in special varieties of ice cream, spumoni, pistachio butter and pastes. Shelled pistachios are also the chopped nuts in the layered pastry dessert Baklava, and are used to make pistachio chocolate, biscotti and cold cuts like mortadella. In the United States, pistachio salad is made with fresh pistachios or pistachio pudding, whipped cream and canned fruit.
Most Valuable International Pistachio Suppliers
By value, the 5 biggest exporters of pistachios are the United States of America, Iran, Germany, Turkey, Germany and Belgium). Combined, that subset of major suppliers sold 88.1% of all pistachios sold on international markets during 2021.
Applying a continental perspective, countries in North America supplied the highest dollar worth of exported pistachios during 2021 with shipments valued at $1.76 billion or 48.6% of the global total. In second place were exporters in Asia (39%) trailed by competitors in Europe (12.2%), Oceania (0.08%) mostly Australia, Africa (0.05%), then Latin America (0.01%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
Major International Pistachio Buyers
Shifting our focus to imports, the 5 leading importers of pistachios in 2021 were mainland China, Germany, Italy, India and Spain. Together, that quintet of top import countries bought over half (56.7%) of globally imported pistachios as measured by dollar value.
The above percentages suggest the total 77 exporters of pistachios (88.1% for the corresponding top 5 exporters) is a more concentrated cohort compared to 158 buying countries, islands and territories. At 56.7%, the top 5 importers accounted for a much smaller share of its world total for imported pistachios.
As for global imports of pistachios by continent, 52.7% of pistachios purchased on international markets was delivered to customers in Asia ahead of importers in Europe (43.5%), North America (1.8%), Africa (1.1%), Oceania (0.7%) led by Australia, then Latin America (0.3%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
For research purposes, the 6-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 080251 for fresh or dried pistachios in shell, and 080252 for fresh or dried shelled pistachios.
Drilling down on those categories, 82% of pistachios exported worldwide by value were for in-shell pistachios. The remaining 18% was paid for shelled pistachios.
Top Pistachios Exports by Country
Below are the top 20 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of pistachios during 2021, regardless of whether the shipped pistachios were in-shell or shelled.
- United States: US$1.8 billion (48.6% of total exported pistachios)
- Iran: $914.4 million (25.3%)
- Turkey: $234.8 million (6.5%)
- Germany: $175.8 million (4.9%)
- Belgium: $104.8 million (2.9%)
- United Arab Emirates: $79.8 million (2.2%)
- Hong Kong: $75.2 million (2.1%)
- Netherlands: $49.3 million (1.4%)
- Afghanistan: $38.7 million (1.1%)
- Italy: $37 million (1%)
- Syria: $27.2 million (0.8%)
- Spain: $26.5 million (0.7%)
- Greece: $14.2 million (0.4%)
- China: $13.8 million (0.4%)
- Luxembourg: $10.6 million (0.3%)
- Vietnam: $7.3 million (0.2%)
- Armenia: $6.4 million (0.2%)
- France: $5.1 million (0.1%)
- Australia: $3.1 million (0.1%)
- Czech Republic: $2.9 million (0.1%)
By value, the listed 20 countries shipped 99.1% of globally exported pistachios in 2021.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing pistachios exporters since 2020 were: Armenia (up 323.3%), Luxembourg (up 227.6%), Turkey (up 53.6%) and Belgium (up 44.1%).
Year over year, those countries that posted declines in their exported pistachios sales were led by: Vietnam (down -66.9%), Australia (down -42.2%), Iran (down -33.3%), France (down -28.4%), then Syria (down -27.8%).
Top Pistachios Imports by Country
Overall spending of $3.51 billion on imported pistachios rose by 59% over the 5-year period starting from $2.72 billion in 2017 but slowed to a 9.9% year-over-year gain from $3.19 billion for 2020.
Below are the 20 best buying markets as measured by the highest dollar value worth of pistachios imported during 2021, for any pistachios regardless of whether shelled or not.
- China: US$841.1 million (24% of total imported pistachios)
- Germany: $545.9 million (15.6%)
- Italy: $252.7 million (7.2%)
- India: $207.6 million (5.9%)
- Spain: $140.8 million (4%)
- Turkey: $123.3 million (3.5%)
- Belgium: $116.3 million (3.3%)
- Hong Kong: $105 million (3%)
- Vietnam: $94.9 million (2.7%)
- United Arab Emirates: $90.4 million (2.6%)
- France: $84.9 million (2.4%)
- Iraq: $82.5 million (2.4%)
- Luxembourg: $75.7 million (2.2%)
- Saudi Arabia: $73.8 million (2.1%)
- Netherlands: $57.8 million (1.6%)
- United Kingdom: $55.4 million (1.6%)
- Israel: $46.1 million (1.3%)
- Japan: $42.3 million (1.2%)
- Poland: $36.5 million (1%)
- Mexico: $27.4 million (0.8%)
By value, the listed 20 countries bought 88.4% of globally imported pistachios in 2021.
Among the top importers, the fastest-growing pistachios importers since 2020 were: Mexico (up 78.8%), Japan (up 59.7%), Vietnam (up 37.2%) and Italy (up 33.6%).
Those countries that posted declines in their imported pistachios purchases were led by: Saudi Arabia (down -24.1%), Iraq (down -19.2%), Hong Kong (down -18.2%), Luxembourg (down -10.2%) and Belgium (down -9.1%).
Imported In-Shell Pistachios: Lowest and Highest Unit Prices
In 2021, the world’s average unit price for in-shell pistachios was an estimated US$7,567 per ton.
The average tonnage charge for the number one importer of unshelled pistachios, mainland China, was lower at $6,642.
Ranked in ascending order, listed below are the countries paying the lowest average unit prices for imported in-shell pistachios in 2021.
- Tajikistan: US$863 per ton (down -56% from 2020)
- Uzbekistan: $1,070 per ton (down -46.7%)
- Pakistan: $1,126 per ton (down -17.6%)
- Sri Lanka: $1,500 per ton (2020 data unavailable)
- Tunisia: $2,769 per ton (down -5.6%)
- Kyrgyzstan: $2,976 per ton (up 85.4%)
- Estonia: $3,378 per ton (down -50.9%)
- Kenya: $3,400 per ton (2020 data unavailable)
- Cameroon: $4,640 per ton (2020 data unavailable)
- Syria: $4,832 per ton (up 9.9%)
- United States: $5,344 per ton (down -28.6%)
- Ireland: $5,444 per ton (down -23.8%)
- Afghanistan: $5,532 per ton (down -1.4%)
- Russia: $5,652 per ton (up 49.6%)
- Armenia: $5,655 per ton (down -0.6%)
The greatest reductions in average unit price paid per ton for in-shell pistachios were enjoyed by low-cost importers in Tajikistan (down -56% from 2020), Estonia (down -50.9%), Uzbekistan (down -46.7%), United States of America (down -28.6%) and Ireland (down -23.8%).
The following countries paid the highest average unit prices for imported in-shell pistachios.
- Democratic Republic of the Congo: US$19,000 per ton (2020 data unavailable)
- Jamaica: $17,000 per ton (up 540.5% from 2020)
- Paraguay: $17,000 per ton (up 70%)
- Venezuela: $15,000 per ton (up 60%)
- New Zealand: $14,523 per ton (up 15.6%)
- Dominican Republic: $14,333 per ton (up 13%)
- Austria: $13,806 per ton (up 13.5%)
- Finland: $13,167 per ton (down -9.2%)
- Cabo Verde: $13,000 per ton (2020 data unavailable)
- Botswana: $13,000 per ton (up 44.4%)
- El Salvador: $12,722 per ton (up 7.4%)
- Maldives: $12,120 per ton (down -32%)
- Denmark: $12,000 per ton (up 0.9%)
- Malta: $11,500 per ton (down -50%)
- Norway: $10,569 per ton (up 1.5%)
Experiencing the strongest pistachio inflation in terms of higher average unit prices paid in 2021 compared to 2020 were: Jamaica (up 540.5%), Paraguay (up 70%), Venezuela (up 60%), Botswana (up 44.4%) then New Zealand (up 15.6%).
See also Top Peanuts Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices, Top Almonds Exporters by Country, Top Walnut Exporters by Country, Top Cashews Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices, Top Hazelnuts Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices, Top Brazil Nuts Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices and Top Chestnuts Exports & Imports by Country Plus Average Prices
Alibaba, Pistachio Showroom. Accessed on September 7, 2022
Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook Field Listing: Exports – Commodities. Accessed on September 7, 2022
International Trade Centre, Trade Map. Accessed on September 7, 2022
Wikipedia, Pistachio. Accessed on September 7, 2022