Growers and glamour hold the key to a new promotional push for US pistachios in China. The campaign will see Bree Morse, Miss California 2015, join with Califonian growers Jimi Valov, Devin Aviles and Alison Nagatani on a roadshow tour of the People’s Rebulic.
The nine-day blitz is being coordinated by trade association American Pistachio Growers (APG) and begins on Thursday (10 December). The tour will focus on four major cities, Shanghai, Ningbo, Xi’an and Beijing.
Valov, who serves as vice chairman of APG, said the promotional tour would help maintain the industry’s foothold in China, which remains one of world’s largest consumer markets for pistachios.
“Our competition in China is Iranian product, which at times is lower in price for a variety of reasons, one being that we have very strict food safety standards in the United States,” Valov explained. “We think it’s important for Chinese consumers to hear directly from us, to see the people who are growing their food.”
The campaign comes amid recent drought woes facing agriculture in the US, with over 90 per cent of California’s pistachio crop grown in one of the drought’s hardest-hit regions, the Central Valley.
“Our farmers are resilient and forward-thinking,” said Judy Hirigoyen, APG’s vice president of global marketing. “We have an unusually small crop this year, but there are so many acres of new trees planted that they’re looking to the future and the need to build demand ahead of supply when the younger trees start producing.”
US pistachio shipments to China increased 145 per cent from 2008-2013. The Asian nation accounted for 25 per cent of California’s export crop over the 2013/14 season.