Why are pistachios so expensive? (Top 12 Reasons)

Why are pistachios so expensive?

The pistachio is a nut and belongs to the cashew family. This is a little, long, dry fruit with a hard, thin, and clear brown shell. As a snack, salted or roasted pistachios with shells are becoming popular. The seed is used in a variety of foods, including confectionery, cooked pork meats, and ice creams. Pistachios produce a very sweet oil as well. They’re even used as a component in some digestive treatments and cosmetics. This is a very nutritious dry fruit. Also, pistachios are very expensive. This is the main point that we are going to discuss in this article. Why are pistachios so expensive? Let’s find out.

Also, some pistachio kinds or types are defined by the size and color of the almond, which has a larger or lesser acceptance.

Why are pistachios so expensive?

1. Only grow in a few places

Pistachio trees are desert natives that can survive in poor soil and adverse weather conditions if root drainage is adequate. They need mainly two requirements and those are cool winters and long, hot summers with low humidity.

These factors limit the areas of the world when growing pistachios. The above factors are important for proper ripening. 

When considering the United States, California is a great place to grow pistachios. Also, Iran is a top producer. 

The majority of pistachios are imported from foreign countries outside of California. Due to this reason, the cost will increase because the supply in the United States is low. 

When demand is great and pistachios must be imported from other countries, prices will begin to rise.

2. It has a very long growing period

When considering a pistachio tree, it is difficult to grow. 

It takes 15 to 20 years to reach peak production after starting with only a handful of nuts. The tree takes four to five years to begin bearing fruit.

This is definitely a long period, and the tree will require many years of care before it begins to bear fruit. So, farmers have to do more work and it is very difficult. Also, the investment cost is very high. 

Because of the long wait for the pistachio trees to begin producing, starting a pistachio business from scratch will be practically impossible. Also, the labor cost is very high for a long period of time. 

So, this leads to a limited number of pistachio farms and the pistachio cost is high.

3. Low production

Even if we wait about 15 to 20 years to reach peak production, there won’t be many pistachios on each tree. Every year, each tree can produce a maximum of 50 pounds of nuts. When it comes to total production and volume, this isn’t going to assist all that much.

So farmers need more trees for high production. That means they need more land, more labor, and a high cost for everything.

For a farmer, the more he can produce per square foot, the easier it is to make money. Crops that produce less but require a large amount of land will have to be more expensive.

Though the production is low, the overall production cost is high. So, the final product is also expensive.

4. Pistachios are alternate bearing

These trees need a lot of lands to grow. Also, they need more time.

Pistachio trees are alternate bearing means that one year the tree produces fully, followed by a year when it produces less and saves nutrients for the following year.

The tree will only yield seeds once every two years. As a result, farmers will need two large crops to alternate the growing seasons. There will be no way to meet the required yield each year without these alternating crops.

So, farmers need extra care and they have to invest more money for it.

The farmer must cover these expenditures someplace in order to stay in business, which is why pistachio prices continue to rise. 

This is the fourth reason that we can consider under the topic of “Why are pistachios so expensive?”

5. A labor-intensive crop

Machines harvest and process the nuts in the United States, but humans operate and supervise the machinery, loading and unloading the pistachios. 

The final step of quality control is when the nuts are manually sorted to ensure that only the best nuts are packaged. 

So, farmers have to do more work. Farmers will aim to use all of the pistachios they harvest, but each one may have a different purpose.

This is a time-consuming process and the final cost is high due to this reason. 

6. Pack with vitamins and nutrients

Pistachios are healthy. When considering healthy food, it is always more expensive than unhealthy foods. 

There is protein, carbs, fat, and fiber in pistachios. 

Also, there is phosphorus, copper, manganese, vitamin B6, thiamine, and potassium. 

Potassium and unsaturated fatty acids have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Also, fiber, minerals, and unsaturated fat, of which can help you maintain healthy blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol level.

Because of the fiber and protein in them, you will feel fuller for longer. This fiber can also help “healthy” bacteria in your gut, which is beneficial. 

They can help you lose weight because they are healthy and filling snacks. This may assist you in eating fewer amount of calories. So, it helps to lose weight. 

Due to these reasons, pistachios are healthy and expensive.

7. Hard to reduce expenses

Taking care of crops can be costly, especially if the ones you’re cultivating require continuous monitoring. Pistachio trees require this in order to produce high-quality fruits.

Farmers require more water to maintain their crops when it becomes too hot and rains seldom, resulting in year-round costs. As a result, anytime the water levels are low, you may expect pistachio prices to rise. To compensate for the lag in their profits, farmers must modify their pricing.

8. Drought conditions can become a problem

As I have mentioned before, pistachios can mainly grow in California. 

This area has proper conditions for the growth of pistachios. The issue you will face in California is that drought conditions might become a problem. 

Pistachios need a lot of water and rain to grow. The pistachio crop will be severely impacted if California experiences a dry season. 

When this happens, the farmer will need to provide additional water to his crops to keep them alive. More water will result in a greater cost for the farmer.

Sometimes it is difficult to supply enough water. So, the final pistachio cost will be high.

This is the eighth reason that we can consider under the topic of “Why are pistachios so expensive?”

9. Popularity

Pistachios are popular and the taste is unique. 

Pistachios go well with a wide range of foods, from pasta and salads to desserts and other baked products. 

Because they can be used in so many different ways to flavor a variety of foods, their diversity has inevitably contributed to high demand and, as a result, a price increase.

Also, pistachios are very popular on holidays too. These are even used to produce liqueurs and drinks.

Many farmers are taking advantage of this side of the business by ensuring that the smaller or less usable pistachios are sold to these pistachio-based companies.

However, the demand will go up but the supply is at the same place. So, the final cost is high.

10. High demand

The most popular nuts are pistachio, almond, and cashew. Pistachios are widely used along with almonds and cashews. It’s commonly used in salads, desserts, cakes, cupcakes, ice creams, and other dishes.

So, the demand is high. Due to the low supply, they are expensive.

11. Need skilled labor

As I have mentioned before, this is a labor-intensive crop. So, there are many laborers.

But it is not enough. They require skills. Machines are used to process and harvest pistachios. However, skilled manpower is necessary to operate that equipment.

So, skilled labor needs proper payment. Payroll taxes and worker’s compensation will have to be included in the labor costs as well. If someone is injured while working on a farmer’s farm, the farmer must be protected. 

Most business owners would agree that rising labor expenses are a major reason they have to boost product prices across the board. This applies to a wide range of items, not just pistachios.

12. Few pistachio farms

There are a small number of Pistachio farms around the world, which implies there are fewer people involved in the trade. 

As there is no competition from other farms, the price rises even more, and consumers are forced to pay whatever they demand. 

This is the final reason that we can consider under the topic of “Why are pistachios so expensive?”


Why are pistachios so expensive? There are 12 main reasons that I have mentioned above such as only growing in a few places, having a long growing period, low production, alternate bearing, labor-intensive crop, and seven other reasons. So, I hope now you can understand the situation clearly and you won’t be confused anymore about the price of pistachios. 

There are many other food confusions all around the world among people. So let us help you to bring answers and you can stay with us by following us on Facebook and Instagram.  

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