Australians have literally gone nuts with new data showing we have eaten an extra 6,000 tonnes of nuts in the past year, boosting domestic demand by 12 per cent.
The figures collated by Nuts for Life show the domestic market for tree nuts is now valued at $550 million at trade prices, up $130 million in the past financial year alone.
Almost 60,000 tonnes of tree nuts were bought by shoppers and used by the food industry in the 2013/2014 financial year, up 6,000 tonnes from 2012/13.
Nuts for Life Program Manager and Dietitian Lisa Yates said the significant increase in the popularity of nuts was primarily a result of people better understanding their health benefits.
"We've finally shaken the low fat diet mantra of the 80s that saw nuts scratched from the shopping list," said Ms Yates. "People are now embracing "good" fats and recognise nuts are an ideal snack packed with vitamins, minerals, protein, fibre and an excellent source of "good" mono and poly-unsaturated fats.
"There is more than 30 years of science supporting the health benefits of tree nuts and in just the past year, many major trials have praised their protective properties. We now understand that as part of a healthy diet eating a handful of nuts a day helps to reduce the risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes, improves cholesterol and weight management, and increases longevity.1-13
"Knowledge of the health benefits of tree nuts is helping to drive sales in Australia and is a trend that has been seen globally as well."
Nuts for Life Chair Mr Christopher Joyce said what made the boom in nut consumption more remarkable was that it coincided with record prices.
"Strong world demand has put pressure on nut prices with trade prices up 30 per cent but this certainly hasn't deterred shoppers," said Mr Joyce. "As we head into the industry's peak sales time, we expect Aussies will be going nuts for tree nuts this Christmas season."
The Australian tree nut industry, domestic consumption plus exports, is now valued at almost $1 billion dollars per annum (at trade prices) and boasts a compound growth rate of almost 6 per cent.
Issued on behalf of Nuts For Life
Nuts for life is Australia's leading nutrition authority on tree nuts ad health. The nutrition education initiative, funded by the Australian Tree Nut Industry and Horticulture Australia, aims to educate Australians about the nutrition and health benefits of regular tree nut consumption. Web www.nutsforlife.com.au Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Nuts4Life Twitter - @NutsForLife
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