A growing opportunity in the export market

export peanut marketDuring lunch at the Bulloch County Extension office, tour attendees were able to learn more about the peanut export market from Stephanie Grunenfelder, vice president of international marketing with the American Peanut Council. According to Grunenfelder, inshell exports in 2013 were 82,000 MT, almost double those in 2012. She says the biggest export increases were to Europe. For the first half of 2014, exports have continued strong for the U.S., she says. While lower than last year, they are still way ahead of the five year average many traders say that will total almost as high as last year.

One of the U.S. key export markets is Japan. “Currently, the Japanese buy the majority of their peanuts from China, but we are trying to change that,” Grunenfelder says. “Japan prefers Virginia type peanuts. We are working very hard to get the duty on U.S. peanuts going into Japan dropped to zero under the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement currently being negotiated. If we are successful, we think we will suddenly start selling a lot more Virginia type peanuts to Japan which could be a real boost to the V-C peanut region.”

Currently the top five export markets for U.S. peanuts are the European Union, Canada, China, Mexico and Japan. Peanuts are exported in a variety of ways with the top export type being kernels followed by inshells, blanched, peanut butter and lastly prepared. When reviewing the last few years, Grunenfelder says, the export market has grown in the following areas:

$35.5 million in 2008
$82.3 million in 2013

$197.8 million in 2008
$415 million in 2013

Peanut Butter
$53.3 million in 2008
$152.9 million in 2013

Stephanie Grunenfelder, vice president of International Marketing with the American Peanut Council

Stephanie Grunenfelder, vice president of International Marketing with the American Peanut Council

According to reports so far in 2014, Grunenfelder says, the top markets for U.S. peanuts from January to June are the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Japan. Those countries total 88 percent of the total export market. So, what is happening with overall production and the export market? In addition to the American Peanut Council’s marketing efforts in other countries the forces of the world market have generated many changes in the peanut trade. Most countries produce and consume peanuts within their own country and only about 5 percent of the world’s volume is traded, unlike most commodities. China currently dominates world peanut production. However, China, Argentina, the U.S. and India compete for export markets around the world. In recent years, China’s economy has grown, and consumers there are eating more snacks and high value foods. Therefore, China consumes more of its own production and because of their size, drawing back exports affects everyone else, Grunenfelder says. The U.S. is best positioned to take up the slack, and has done so in many countries, including Africa. Pair this with growing middle class consumers in Africa, who are already familiar with peanuts as a snack, and you see why there are opportunities for exports, Grunenfelder adds.

The American Peanut Council manages an export promotion program on behalf of the industry, and utilizes funds from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Market Access Promotion Program, as well as the Foreign Market Development Program. These funds are used primarily to focus on the trade, and are targeted to key markets. To learn more, visit the USDA’s Foreign Agriculture website at: http://www.fas.usda.gov/.

View Stephanie Grunenfelder’s presentation

View the 2014 Georgia Peanut Tour Photo Album