APG Organization Grows


American Pistachio Growers Meet

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Editor


More than 300 growers and others allied to the pistachio industry gathered in Visalia today for the American Pistachio Growers (APG) Annual Summer Luncheon.

Here are the highlights of the many topics discussed during the meeting.


Jim Zion, APG Board Chairman;

The marketing budget presented is the accumulation of many meetings and countless hours by committee members and APG staff to determine the best use of annual assessment dollars received each year, always keeping the mission statement clearly in mind. Simply put, the process is done in a transparent manner in which every member has the opportunity for input.


Richard Matoian, APG Executive Director, made these comments:

·      With the increase in plantings over the last 10 years, the pistachio industry projects that around 2018 or 2020, the industry will reach 1 billion pounds.
 
·      Consumer/Food Service demand must be ahead of this increased production, so marketing activities are planned ahead of time to meet the new level.

·      Based upon current projections, by the end of this fiscal year, the industry will ship 300 million pounds to various export destinations. Just six years ago, the industry was shipping just above 100 million pounds.

·      China and Hong Kong together have become the #1 export destination for U.S. pistachios.

·      For current year shipments from September 1, 2012 through June 30, 2013, with the last two months extrapolated, total U.S. exports are up an average of 5.7 percent. This includes Eastern Europe, which is up by 75 percent; Asia, up 4.4 percent; China, up 3 percent; and Western Europe, up by 10.4 percent.

·      During the same time period, domestic shipments are down about 3.9 percent, with roughly 144 million pounds currently, versus 149 million pounds shipped by the same time, last year. But in looking at a two-year average, domestic shipments are up by about 25 percent.

·      The APG marketing program targets markets both domestic and abroad, with the bulk of the effort is aimed at export markets. About 81 percent of the APG budget is devoted to marketing in order to keep consumer demand ahead of production.


·      Over the last five years, APG members have increased from 351 members to 548 members, a 56 percent increase.



Judy Hirigoyen, APG Director, Global Marketing made these comments:


·      Pistachios are now known as one of the top ten trends in food service. Pistachios are now the new “it” ingredients.

·      Demand must stay ahead of supply. And there are many areas of the world that cannot get pistachios, and we are looking forward to supplying that need.

·      This year, $9.2 million dollars were invested in marketing, and $1.3 million in nutrition, which, together, represents 83 percent of the budget.

·      In the countries that APG actively markets, the shipments have increased by 70 percent—a huge growth. All the time, there has been no change to grower assessments. The budget increases have been the result of the growth in membership. That’s why it’s important to recruit more growers to the organization.

·      Because food development by major food companies takes anywhere from six months to two years to launch a product, Hirigoyen emphasized that the time is now to place pistachios as an ingredient in their product development, and get those products in the pipeline. By the time they are finished, we will have all the pistachios they need.

·      Among the APG Ambassadors is Miss California, Crystal Lee, who happens to be Chinese and is fluent in Mandarin. APG is looking forward to taking her to China to help market APG pistachios.

·      Between December 2012 and May 2013, APG marketing reached more than 3.2 billion PR impressions, with the value, if it had been paid for, is worth $64 million dollars.  This means that every dollar spent on marketing has returned $52 dollars back to the grower in promotion around the world.


Also during the event, Bob Beede was recognized for his 35 years of service to the pistachio industry as a UCCE Farm Advisor. Beede retired in June 2013.


Complete coverage of the annual event will appear in the September issue of Pacific Nut Producer magazine.

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