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American Pistachio Growers increase their international marketing efforts

At the July 2012 American Pistachio Grower’s Annual Grower’s luncheon, Executive Director Richard Matoian opened up with the problem and the opportunity facing pistachio growers.

“Production is increasing dramatically and we need to increase marketing and consumption, because the production increase is expected to continue,” Mr. Matoian said to the crowd of over 250 in Visalia, CA.

U.S. pistachio growers are expected to produce a record crop of over 550 million pounds in 2012 and 1 billion pounds by 2018 or 2020. “Almonds have surpassed 2 billion pounds, and we can mirror their efforts,” Mr. Matoian added.

APG processors represent 44 percent of pistachio production and the organization has focused it’s efforts on export markets, especially to China and the European Union. Chain grocery stores have reported a 46 percent growth in pistachio sales from 2011.

The organization aims to build a marketing foundation from which individual marketers can build their own marketing strategies.

Judy Hirigoyen has spearheaded APG’s global marketing effort. She was the major force behind launching “The Power of Pistachios” campaign just over a year ago. Since then, Miss California and the USA Water Polo team have represented the organization.

Pistachio-Miss-CALeah Cecil made her first appearance as Miss California 2012 at the American Pistachio Growers’ annual luncheon. Ms. Cecil will represent American Pistachio Growers during her reign as Miss California.Leah Cecil, Miss California 2012, made her first appearance at the annual luncheon and launched her Miss America preparation by taking video footage with growers. The luncheon also conveniently fell on the eve of the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremonies. APG members’ pistachios are the “official snack” of the USA Water Polo Team and they were delighted when the USA Women’s Team took the Gold Medal.

Internationally, Hirigoyen has found that there is little awareness that pistachios are grown in the United States. So, the organization’s marketing focus has been educating international markets of this fact.

Also very recently, a nutrition study was released linking pistachios to stress relief. The Pennsylvania State University study was published online in “Hypertension.” This study is the first to show that including both salted and unsalted pistachios in a healthy diet helps reduce blood pressure and lessen the vascular load on the heart, a press release stated. The research is supported by APG with partial support from the NIH-supported General Clinical Research Center at Pennsylvania State University.

Ms. Hirigoyen explained to the audience the importance of the significant investment APG has made in nutrition research. “Positive findings like these are the basis of our promotional efforts. When good news is shared by our wholesome brand ambassadors, it’s heard worldwide and this will help us keep demand ahead of production,” she added.