Around 70% of the world’s hazelnuts are grown in the Black Sea region of Turkey. An average Turkish hazelnut crop is around 350Kmt of kernels with Italy, the second largest produced, producing an average of 50Kmt.
Farms in Turkey are traditionally family owned and spread over just a few hectares (a well maintained hectare produces around 500kg of inshell material). The farmers are not reliant on income generated by the hazelnuts and as a result are able to hold material back from the market when pricing is not at a level they wish to sell. We saw this with both the 2014 and 2016 crops.
Hazelnuts are primarily used in confectionary to make praline and other products such as Nutella and Frangelico liqueur. Hazels are also a good source of protein, monosaturated fat, vitamin E and several other essential nutrients.