And retailers are finding pistachios are good for the bottom line.
“They find pistachios are a driver into the store for other items,” Zion said. “Shoppers go in to buy pistachios and end up buying other items.”
The popularity of pistachios in China is not limited to the snack category.
“There seems to be tremendous interest in expanding the baking sector in China, especially in the French style,” Zion said. “We see tremendous opportunity on the ingredient usage.”
Whether another promotional trip to China is in the future for American Pistachio Growers will be up to the board of directors, Matoian said.
“Based on how this trip went, I think it is going to be an easy decision,” he said.
In the interim, APG has retained a Chinese public relations firm to continue to spread the word on the nut’s nutrition, food safety and helping Chinese shoppers differentiate between U.S. pistachios and nuts from other countries, Matoian said.
With the economic chaos in Europe, China has become an even more important export market for the domestic pistachio industry, Zion said, and the promotion tour built a solid foundation.
“What we’ve done is sort of set the table for growers and marketers to move forward to move pistachios in China,” he said.