Why Are Pistachios So Expensive - 4 Main Reasons

Written by Ivy

Jan 30 2023

Why Are Pistachios So Expensive - 4 Main Reasons

You can't walk very far without coming across a pistachio, whether it be in handmade Iranian baklava or creamy, delicious ice cream. This green, oblong nut has gained popularity among fans of healthy foods and sweets. They have, in some way, brought everyone together in adoration!

Despite the fact that everyone adores the modest pistachio, why are they so expensive?

It turns out that that one, little pistachio has to travel for decades! There is a lot of work involved in getting these salty snacks from the tree to the supermarket, from finicky climate conditions to challenging propagation techniques! Understanding every step involved in growing, gathering, sorting, packaging, and shipping these cherished snacks is essential in determining how much pistachios cost.

Do you want to know what makes pistachios so expensive that you should reconsider returning the pricey bag to the shelf and opt instead for peanuts?

We've compiled the top ten explanations for why this tiny nut has such a disproportionately high price! Read on to find out everything you need to know about how much it will cost to satisfy your pistachio craving!

How Do Pistachios Grow?


Because they thrive in arid and semi-arid environments with protracted, dry summers, pistachios are indigenous to Central Asia.

However, it can take up to 20 years for the trees to reach full maturity and begin producing well. The trees take between seven and eight years to begin producing any harvest. (Read More: How to Grow & Care for Pistachio Tree)

Pollination of pistachio trees requires both male and female trees. About 10 to 15 miles upwind of the female trees, farmers cultivate male pistachio trees. 12 female trees that bear seeds can be pollinated by one male tree.

Each cluster of pistachios contains between thirty and fifty nuts and grows in grape-like clusters. 50 pounds of pistachios can usually be harvested from one tree.

The trees produce biennially, which means that one year they produce heavily, the next year they produce lightly, and so on. Heavy machinery is used to harvest the nuts, which are then taken for processing.

A wide range of illnesses and infections can affect pistachios. Global shortages have previously been brought on by a decline in production brought on by diseases.

Where Do Pistachios Come From?

The two biggest pistachio producers in the world are Turkey and the United States. The two nations produced 68% of all pistachios in the world, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.

Syria comes in right behind Iran in terms of production. Pistachio nut production has long been a major industry in Iran.

However, due to US sanctions, inadequate water management, and other factors, the nation fell off the list of the top global producers.

Why Do Pistachios Cost More Than Other Nuts?

1. Processing Costs

Pistachios require active management from the moment they are planted. This is especially true when processing.

Pistachios have to be hulled and dried in less than 24 hours after being harvested. Like other nuts like walnuts, they cannot be stored unprocessed.

The expensive, specifically designed equipment is used for this one process. As a result, these nuts are quite expensive for the consumer.

2. Long Growing Time

It takes more than 15 years for pistachio trees to develop into dependable crop producers. This implies that, especially for new farmers, it also takes longer to see any return on investment. (Read More: Where and How Do Pistachios Grow)

3. Sensitive to Climate

Only a few climate zones are suitable for the growth of pistachio trees. This means that there are some geographical limitations because they need large tracts of land to be profitable as a business.

Furthermore, the harvest is destroyed by any unpredicted weather changes.

4. Susceptible to Diseases

Pistachios are extremely susceptible to diseases and pests. Botryosphaeria is one of the main fungi that harm pistachios.

This fungus kills the young shoots and flowers of the trees as well as causes shoot blight. It has the potential to completely destroy pistachio orchards.

Because these possibilities are always a possibility, the risk is transferred to the consumer in the form of higher prices.


5. Harvesting Costs

Pistachios require a more involved process during harvest than other nuts like almonds, which can be shaken from the tree and collected.

These nuts must be freshly harvested using expensive heavy equipment. Additionally, the pistachios must be processed quickly to maintain freshness. The process is very financially taxing due to the time constraints.

6. Pistachios Require Skilled Labor

Pistachios are harvested and processed by machines in the US. It takes skilled labor, though, to operate those machines.

To ensure the highest quality when packed, the pistachios are further hand-sorted. The production's final and most expensive quality-control step is this one.

Most Expensive Pistachios in the World

Sicily, Italy is where the world's priciest pistachios are grown. As a result of the pistachios' high value, the trees must be protected by police every year.

The variety grown on the Italian island is officially named Bronte, also referred to as "Sicily's green gold". It is believed that Sicily first encountered the variety when the island was occupied by Arabs.

The Bronte pistachios have done well in this region despite the unfavorable farming conditions. In Bronte, the soil is very thin.

Additionally, the surroundings are uneven and rocky, making it difficult for other plants to survive. The nuts must all be manually selected, which is a time-consuming and laborious process due to the topography.

Even though they make up just 1% of the world's total pistachio production, Bronte pistachios fetch the highest prices.

This variety costs as much as $17.40 per 2lbs. That is nearly twice what the other 99% of the world's pistachios sell for. Germany, France, and the US are significant markets for this variety.

Pistachios Special Weather Conditions

Pistachios can grow in moderately fertile soil and are not overly fussy about soil characteristics, but they have very specific requirements for the weather for optimum growth. Here are some of the unique requirements for cultivating pistachios:



They typically do best in hot summers and chilly winters. It is between 14°F in the winter and 104°F in the summer that they prefer to be.

Sunlight and Humidity

To ensure that the kernels are fully ripe before harvest, pistachios require a sufficient number of hours of growth in clear sunlight and low humidity. Because of this, they can only grow in a few places around the globe. For large-scale production, their climate must be ideal.

Can Dogs Eat Pistachios?

It's still best to keep your dog from eating pistachios even though they are not toxic to dogs and are unlikely to be fatal if consumed. Dogs have a difficult time digesting the compounds found in all nuts. Dogs are extremely toxic to some nuts, especially macadamia nuts.

Bottom Line

One of the most delicious and nutrient-dense nuts in the world are pistachios. The seeds with hues of yellow and green are incredibly adaptable and have a plethora of uses.

These nuts' price is a little high, though, because growing and harvesting them requires a very unique, labor-intensive, and lengthy process.

However, the price is entirely justified given how difficult it is to produce them. Because of their incredible flavor, crunch, and labor of love, pistachios are a purchase well worth making.

We know we've whetted your appetite for these satisfying nuts, but that's about it. Before you start drooling, go get yours!