If you want to know where that hazelnut in your Nutella comes from, check out our list of 6 largest hazelnut producing countries in the world.
Hazelnut is one delicious nut, rich in protein, monounsaturated fat, vitamin E, manganese, and numerous other essential nutrients. We suppose that the delicious part is what caught your attention the most, so let’s get to it. Hazelnut is used mostly for producing hazelnut cocoa spreads, pralines, making mixes with chocolate and even producing liquor. The liquor is called Frangelico, if you want to try it.
Of course, there are other uses for hazelnuts that are less tasty, like making hazelnut oil that can be used as cooking oil. In some cuisines, hazelnuts are added to the dish or being used for making various sauces. Hazelnuts are edible while raw but can also be consumed roasted, or grounded into a paste. The interesting thing about hazelnuts is that more than 70% of world production is being credited to only one country, while Ferrero SpA, the producer of Nutella and Ferrero Rocher, consumes 25% of the global supply. The region of Asia is the largest producer with 77.2% of the global production, followed by regions of Europe and Americas that produce 18.8% and 4% respectively. If you want to find out more interesting things, be sure to check out our list of most expensive specialty crops in the world.
To find out the 6 largest hazelnut producing countries in the world, we checked the data made available by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations from 2014. We took the 6 largest producers and ranked them accordingly, thus getting our list.
Production: 23,000 tonnes
China began increasing its hazelnut production in 2000 and continued with steady growth over the years. Almost every year, since 2000, there has been an increase by 1 tonne. In 2013, China reached its peak in hazelnut production with 23,000 tonnes, the same amount the country produced a year later.
Production: 31,202 tonnes
This country had a rocky road in establishing itself as one of the top 5 hazelnut producers in the world. Producing more than 10,000 tonnes every year since 1990, Azerbaijan hit rock bottom in 2004 producing only 5,491 tonnes. Thanks to the modern technology and reforms in this department, the production recovered reaching its peak in 2001 when almost 33,000 tonnes were produced. Aside from hazelnuts in the shell, Azerbaijan produces all types of processed hazelnuts also.
Production: 39,700 tonnes
Of all the countries on our list of 6 largest hazelnut producing countries in the world, Georgia had the biggest increase in hazelnut production compared to the year before. In 2012, the country produced 24,700 tonnes, only to increase its production in 2013 by exactly 15,000 tonnes. Most of Georgia’s hazelnuts are grown close to the coast of the Black Sea.
3. United States
Production: 40,500 tonnes
When talking about rocky roads in hazelnut production, the United States had one of the rockiest. From 1993 to 2003, the United States had enormous oscillations when it comes to hazelnut productivity, producing 10,000 tonnes more compared to the previous year, only to produce 20,000 tonnes less the next year. After that, the production got steadier but there was still some major ups and down. This may be credited to the fact that the 99% of the U.S. hazelnut production happens in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.
Production: 112,643 tonnes
Italy has always been one of the major producers of hazelnut, producing over 100,000 tonnes even in the ’70s. After a slight setback, production of hazelnut in Italy is gaining momentum, due to lower cost of production and increased demand for hazelnut. It also helps that the country is a home to Ferrero SpA, the world’s largest individual hazelnut consumer.
Production: 549,000 tonnes
That’s right, holding more than 70% of world’s hazelnut production and 80% of world’s hazelnut supply, Turkey is on top of our list of 6 largest hazelnut producing countries in the world. 549,000 tonnes isn’t even the maximum Turkey can produce, it’s barely an average. In 2008, the country produced staggering 800,000 tonnes of hazelnut.