Pistachios Named Nut of the Year for 2023

Friday, March 10th, 2023

From lattes to cocktails, fashion, and even paint colors, pistachios are having a moment. Food industry leaders like Baum + Whiteman and Lyons Magnus recently predicted pistachios would be the top nut of 2023 in food trend research, and outlets like Forbes and Eat This, Not That! all covered the news. Beyond the taste and nutritional benefits of the nut, trends are extending into the color – and even smell – of pistachios, with the nutty aroma now being used in candles and perfumes.

Baum + Whiteman, International Food + Restaurant Consultants in their annual report said, “We’re seeing more and more pistachio nuts on menus. Pistachio replacing pine nuts in pesto; as an ingredient in inventive Mexican moles; with cheese as a filling for tortellini. Combined with cardamom, adding color to Danish pastry. Also sprinkled on slices of mortadella for color atop pizza.”

Lyons Magnus in a press release stated, “This year you will see pistachio everywhere, from a flavor in beverages and pastries to an ingredient on food menus of all kinds. But it doesn’t end there, pistachio is also trending as a color for 2023. Look for pistachio-colored handbags, shoes, and interior design colors. And it appears that pistachio may also find its place as the next “it” plant milk as they require significantly less water than other nut-based milk, tastes great as a dairy alternative, and performs well in beverages.”

We’ll see how Lyon Magnus’s predictions do as the year progresses. Pantone’s projection for the color of the year was magenta and they usually own that market. We haven’t seen pistachio milk in our local grocery store yet, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t coming.

Where Pistachios are showing up:

We have witnessed an increase in restaurants using pistachios in savory dishes such as crusts on meats, in desserts, and in cocktails. As far south as McAllen Texas, Bonhomia featured a pistachio soup and always uses pistachios in their pastries. In Philadelphia, Pizzeria Stella has a Pistachio pizza!! Even Hong Kong has gotten in on the trend, Chaat has a tandoori lamb chop with pistachio and mint chutney which is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes.

The most mainstream example of the current pistachio obsession is Starbucks’s popular line-up of pistachio drinks, first launched in 2019. There’s a cold brew topped with pistachio-flavored cold foam, plus a pistachio latte served hot or cold; both are dominating social media feeds. There’s also the extremely intriguing Pistachio Perfume from DS & Durga, which combines the nutty aroma with notes of cardamom, toasted almond, and patchouli. This sounds like it would smell heavenly. We may need to order a bottle.

Better Homes and Gardens offers a Pumpkin and Pistachio scented wax melt. Pistache Skincare uses pistachio oil in its products. And green seems to be very popular in the fashion scene this spring. Some say it’s stronger than Pantone’s magenta. Ode to the pistachio!

Where did the pistachio craze begin?

The pandemic forced consumers to reevaluate their health and well-being; people were forced to consider not only what they ate and how it affected them, but also how it affected the planet. The result was a movement toward plant-based proteins, and as a source of complete protein, pistachios fit the bill. Further, the sustainability of pistachios stands out from other crops; pistachios are a permanent crop that spans generations of farmers and as a high desert plant, are relatively drought tolerant.

“Pistachios aren’t just the hottest snack, their surging popularity is because of research that shows their unique health benefits," said Judy Hirigoyen, VP of Global Marketing for the American Pistachio Growers trade association. “They’re a complete protein which is the quality of protein usually found in animal proteins. Further, thanks to a recently published study by Cornell University, we now know they’re also very high in antioxidants. In fact, they rival the level of antioxidant capacity you’d find in blueberries, pomegranates, and red wine”

In conclusion:

Let’s see where the pistachio trend goes! We’ve known it was a pretty special nut since we started growing them in the 1970’s. If you haven’t tried any of these fun pistachio products, take the opportunity now that you know it’s there. Or if you are a purist, place your order for Heart of the Desert pistachios here.

Heart of the Desert is a working pistachio ranch and vineyard with four retail establishments in New Mexico. They are best known for their farm fresh pistachios and Award-Winning New Mexico wines.  Each store offers wine and pistachio tastings. They offer worldwide shipping and produce attractive gourmet baskets that make great corporate and family gifts. The main store, on the ranch in Alamogordo, offers farm tours that showcases how pistachios are grown and processed as well as a stunning Tuscany themed patio that overlooks the groves and is available for weddings, private parties or enjoying a relaxing glass of wine.