Eyeing India as a lucrative market, an umbrella organisation of over 4,000 walnut growers of California has decided to roll out a mega campaign in the country to educate people about the nutritional benefits of the ‘king of nuts’. The campaign by California Walnut Commission (CWC) will target people in both rural and urban areas across India besides roping in bakeries, food chains, departmental stores, nutritionists and award-winning chefs to promote walnut as a health product.
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The CWC had exported 6,600 metric tonnes of walnut to India in 2015 and it was looking at a steady growth of around 25 to 30 per cent in supplies in the next five years considering that Indians living in cities and towns are becoming more health conscious. India, China, Germany and Japan are among the top 10 export markets for California walnut growers and they have decided to focus more on India due to its impressive economic growth rate of over 7 per cent notwithstanding slowdown in the global economy.
“We are quite optimistic about the Indian market and that is why we are carrying out a major campaign to reach out to various segments of consumers across rural and urban India,” India representative of CWC Keith Sunderlal told PTI here. He said findings of various clinical research have found major health benefits in moderate but regular consumption of walnuts, including in weight loss.
Sundarlal said the campaign will involve stakeholders like bakeries, restaurants and food chains so that they add walnut as an ingredient in their product lines to enhance their health benefits. The CWC, which represents over 4,000 walnut growers of California, has also planned to carry out an extensive campaign among the medical fraternity and fitness professionals to pass on the knowledge about benefits of walnut consumption.
India’s domestic production of walnuts in 2015-16 was 33,000 metric tonnes out of which 16,000 metric tonnes were
exported. The CWC, in collaboration with India’s Diamond Toons, have also published an infotainment comic to make children aware about the benefits of having walnuts in their daily diet.
The Central Valley, one of California’s most diverse and richly fertile regions of the state, is home to most of the walnut orchards. There are more than 30 varieties of commercially produced walnuts, all hybrids of the English or Persian walnut. Varieties are developed for various characteristics such as early harvest, late harvest, thick shell, thin shell, high walnut meat content, pest tolerance, etc.
Approximately 35 per cent of walnut exports are shelled and 65 per cent are exported in-shell. In the US market, approximately 95 per cent of shipments are shelled walnuts, while only 5 per cent remain inshell.