Strong UK demand continues for California walnuts

Despite the recent challenges presented by COVID-19, California walnut demand continues strongly in the UK.

As of March 2020, the California walnut shipment figures for the UK showed that 5,302,001 shelled pounds were imported since 1 September 2019, making the UK the 5th largest market in Europe for the product.

The California Walnut Commission (CWC) has been actively promoting its products in the UK since 2016, and the results have been encouraging. In unison with its representatives at the Garden Marketing & PR (the trade representative for California walnuts in the UK), CWC has been conducting a number of initiatives aimed at inspiring and encouraging the UK food industry to use more California walnuts, in ever more innovative ways.

California walnuts in retail

Recent highlights include retail promotions with Costco, Waitrose, Sainsbury, Tesco, Ocado and Home Bargains which have collectively driven significant volume and sales of California walnuts in the UK.

A key objective of the UK consumer communications activities involves supporting health research and communicating the numerous health benefits of California walnuts. Additionally, a broad ranged social media campaign featuring recipe development and product innovation has shown consumers how to use California walnuts outside of the more traditional uses such as baking and snacking.

“Our goal is to communicate to the market that California walnuts offer a range of attributes over other origins – great taste, consistency, outstanding food safety, they’re ideal for flavouring and texture profiles, always high quality and available all year,” says Peter Meadows from The Garden Marketing & PR. “California walnuts are incredibly flexible and can enhance the taste and texture of a wide range of products. Our mission is to communicate to the trade why they should specify California as their origin of choice.”

Walnut innovation

With the UK seen as a market for innovation, more walnut-based products are being launched with increasing success.

Recently the UK CWC team have been working closely with BNUTZ, an artisan nut butter producer based in Surrey, creating a product that contains California walnuts as one of the core ingredients.

‘Espresso Nut Butter – Made with California Walnuts’ has a rich dark chocolate taste with subtle caramel sweetness, and the creaminess of the California walnuts offers a truly unique flavour.

In mainland Europe some headway has also been made in developing nut butters with leading industrial manufacturers, as well as products using walnuts integrated into cheeses, yoghurts, chocolate and other confectionery items. In addition, cereal manufacturers are  interested in increasing their mixes and nutritional profiles with California walnuts.

The general trend towards more plant-based eating has undoubtedly helped garner further interest in nuts generally, and the versatility of California walnuts means they are perfectly positioned to take advantage of these NPD trends.

“It’s not just in the UK that innovation using California walnuts has been evident,” says Pamela Graviet, senior marketing director for the California Walnut Commission. “Korea and Japan have launched retail packs of flavoured California walnuts in 600g and 170g formats with considerable success.

“Flavours specific to the local communities such as wasabi walnuts, have attracted interest and demand and in turn have provided us with ideas for expanding into the UK trade,” Graviet added. “We’ve shown a range of flavoured California walnuts to the UK trade at The Lunch show and generated real interest from some major UK brands.”

Why California walnuts?

The central valley in California provides ideal conditions to sustainably grow superior walnuts. Walnuts from California are generally lighter in colour and have a sweet-mild taste with a soft creamy texture, which makes them a versatile ingredient for flavour profiles and texture in recipes as well as processed products.

Despite the recent challenging global situation, the California walnut industry continues its commitment to producing high-quality, nutritious and safe walnuts for consumers worldwide. The California walnut industry has earned a reputation for producing high quality walnuts while maintaining an exceptional food safety record for a century. California walnuts are grown, harvested, and processed following strict Federal and State food safety regulations. The finished product often exceeds quality standards set by the USDA.

California Walnuts have tremendous versatility and can be used in a variety of ways – for recipe ideas and inspiration visit

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Tel: California Walnut Commission (01628) 535755


Published Date: May 5, 2020
Category: Product & Promotions News