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Information @ a Glance

General

The hazelnut also known as filbert or cob nut, has native species that are widespread over North America, Europe and Asia. Our native species, the beaked hazel and the American hazel are very hardy, well adapted small, 1-2 m tall, bushy plants, producing quantities of small sized thick shelled nuts.

Hazelnuts can be grown from seed. The blight resistant selections can produce seedlings that have 70% blight resisting offspring. Orchards established with seedlings need to be culled of the blight susceptible trees, the trees with the poor filling nuts, the small or poor quality nuts and the trees with too much bran material adhering to the kernel. New seedlings can be planted to take the place of the culls, but a better way would be to use superior replacement trees that are layered or grafted.

Planting & Growing Hazelnuts

The natural growth habit of the hazelnut is a bush, or multi-stemmed small tree as found in Turkey and Southern Europe. In the US, hazelnut trees are grown as single trunk trees that can grow to 5 meters or more. All varieties of hazelnuts require cross-pollination in order to produce nuts, so every planting requires two or more varieties.

Hazelnut trees should be in commercial production when they are about 6 years old, and a well managed orchard should remain active for 40 years or more. The nuts mature during the summer months (turning in color from green to hazel) and are harvested in late summer and early autumn when the nuts fall to the ground within a short period. The nuts are picked up by hand or harvested mechanically, washed, dried and sorted by size.

Applications

Hazelnuts are a nutrient and energy dense food and an excellent source of monounsaturated fats. They are cholesterol free and a good source of dietary fiber, manganese, potassium, copper, thiamin and vitamin B6, as well as Vitamin E, folate and antioxidants.

FDA issued notice for a qualified health claim for nuts and reduced risk of coronary heart disease in 2003. The agency authorized the following qualified health claim and disclosure coronary heart disease statement for certain nuts and nut-containing foods.

"Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts, such as hazelnuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease."

Market

Chocolate covered hazelnut products are marketed all over the world. Consumption of chocolate confectionery products are higher in Europe, but NutWorld is not in the export business. Their smaller size and regional market focus leaves them emphasizing the domestic market. They believe that the domestic demand for hazelnut candies is growing. They are also suggesting that the demand has been there, but the product was not generally available.

Hazelnuts are marketed as two products, nuts in-shell and kernels. Nuts in-shell, marketed mainly for home or table consumption, account for less than 10% of the total market. Most hazelnuts are cracked and sold as kernels, which can be eaten fresh, but the vast majority are either blanched or roasted and then used in confectionery products, cakes and biscuits. Hazelnuts are highly nutritious and can be used for a wide range of purposes, such as in muesli, salads and as a compliment to many food dishes.

Report

According to a 2005 Hazelnut Council consumer attitude study, 83 percent of American consumers who tried hazelnuts reported liking them. Not only are hazelnuts becoming more likable (up from 79 percent in 2003), but they possess the specialty nut image that makes them premium.

Consumers value hazelnuts for their ultra-indulgent flavor and upscale appeal. But, hazelnuts are also one of the most nutritious nuts, providing a high-quality source of protein and fiber. They contain a variety of antioxidants such as vitamin E and can easily be incorporated into snack bars and mixes for an on-the-go boost.

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