California Pistachio Growers and Processors Contribute $6.4 Billion-Plus Impact to State’s Economy

By Judy Hirigoyen

With every new acre of pistachios California reaps a wellspring of economic rewards totaling more than $6.4 billion in the Golden State. A new economic study commissioned by American Pistachio Growers (APG), and released today on the opening day of APG’s 2023 Industry Annual Conference, has quantified the benefits in terms of industry spending for goods and services, jobs created, labor income and contributions from indirect business taxes. The study by Dennis H. Tootelian of the Tootelian Company of Sacramento underscores the growing importance of pistachios to the state’s economy. Data were also analyzed for Arizona and New Mexico.

Tootelian’s number-crunching reveals that the economic impact of California pistachio grower and processor spending on farming operations totaled nearly $3.5 billion annually, or the equivalent of more than $9.5 million per day in 2022. Total economic output, the best measure of economic activity, was calculated by Tootelian at more than $6.4 billion, an average of more than $17.6 million every day, impacting an array of sectors from real estate, professional services, construction, insurance and retailing.

Spending by California’s pistachio industry helped create 55,100 jobs on a full-time equivalent basis in 2022. Grower spending generated more than 27,000 jobs and processor spending generated more than 28,000 jobs.

The new study pegged labor income generated by California growers and processors at nearly $3 billion in 2022. Tootelian said the labor income helped boost other sectors of the economy. Possible purchases with this labor income would equate to $770 million for housing, $373 million for transportation, $282 million for food, or $185 million for healthcare, and even $82 million in charitable cash donations, according to Tootelian’s analysis.

“The money spent by growers and processors spreads throughout the economy, creating business activity down the main streets of towns and cities across the state,” Tootelian said. “The green kernels shaken from California pistachio trees each year produce another kind of green for our economy —- thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in business taxes.”


The data calculated the total indirect business taxes generated as a result of grower and processor spending at more than $230.9 million in 2022, or the equivalent of $632,600 per day. The impact of the industry’s spending generated $98.8 million in sales taxes and $81.3 million in property taxes in 2022, according to the data.

A key driver of this economic boom created by California’s pistachio industry is the surge in bearing acreage from 371,386 acres in 2020 to 446,000 in 2022. “Just the increase in bearing acres of 74,614 acres created additional grower and processor spending of more than $513.8 million on these bearing acres, averaging more than $2.7 million per day,” he said.

“With every economic study of the industry, the numbers keep getting more and more impressive,” said Tootelian. “Every new pistachio seedling planted in our state’s soil turns the key of a powerful economic engine that benefits all Californians, no matter where they live.”

 California produces the lion’s share of the nation’s pistachios —- about 99 percent —- but two southwestern states, Arizona and New Mexico, are making their mark as valuable contributors to the U.S. pistachio industry.

The data for Arizona’s pistachio growers and processors show total expenditures of $92.6 million in 2022, total economic impact of $171.1 million, the creation of more than 1,570 jobs and $70 million in labor income, and more than $5.3 million in indirect business taxes. “Depending on how these funds are used, they can help benefit state and local programs,” Tootelian stated.

For New Mexico, expenditures by growers and processors totaled nearly $3.2 million in 2022, total economic impact was $5.9 million, the industry created 55 jobs and generated nearly $2.5 million in labor income, and the state’s growers and processors created nearly $188,900 in indirect business taxes.

The 2022 study by Dennis Tootelian, Ph.D., Emeritus Professor of Marketing at CSU-Sacramento, is a follow-up to economic studies conducted for APG in 2017 and 2021. His analyses were conducted for net total expenditures by growers and the net variable expenses of processors. He completed economic impact studies using 2022 data for California, Arizona and New Mexico.

American Pistachio Growers is the non-profit trade association representing more than 865 growers and member processors in California, Arizona, and New Mexico. The 2022 economic impact data for the three states and an infographic with highlights of the Tootelian study for California, Arizona and New Mexico are available at

2023-03-03T08:34:22-08:00March 3rd, 2023|

New Study Reveals Pistachios are an Antioxidant Powerhouse

By Amber Wilson, American Pistachio Growers

Pistachios have a high antioxidant capacity that rivals that of popular antioxidant-containing foods

Antioxidant-rich foods are regularly encouraged as part of a healthy lifestyle, and research suggests that a diet high in antioxidants may even help to reduce
the risk of death. While certain fruits and vegetables are often thought of as high-antioxidant foods, a new study conducted by Cornell University and published in the journal, Nutrients,
produced surprising results. Pistachios have a very high antioxidant capacity, among the highest when compared to values reported in research of many foods commonly known for their
antioxidant capacity, such as blueberries, pomegranates, cherries, and beets.

Researchers from Cornell University wanted to better understand the potential mechanism behind the health benefits that have been linked to pistachios in recent studies. They analyzed
pistachios to determine:
• The makeup of pistachio phytochemicals – compounds within plants that may help to lower the risk of chronic diseases and keep the body working properly.
• The antioxidant power of pistachios.
• Whether pistachio extracts can help to inhibit the growth of tumor cells (breast, liver and colon cancer cells) in a laboratory setting.

The researchers used the two different methods to measure the antioxidant potential of pistachios– Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) and Cellular Antioxidant Activity (CAA) – and
found that pistachios have very high level of antioxidant activities.

“We were excited to see that the antioxidant capacity of pistachios measured so high in our study,” said Dr. Rui Hai Liu, Professor of Food Science at Cornell University. “When compared
to values reported in research for other common, high-antioxidant foods using the same methods, we see the antioxidant activity of pistachios is higher than that of foods often thought of as
antioxidant powerhouses including blueberries, cherries, and beets. We believe the high antioxidant activity of pistachios may to be due to the unique compounds in pistachios including
vitamin E, carotenoids, phenolics and flavonoids. The combination or interaction of these beneficial antioxidants, bioactive compounds, along with other nutrients in pistachios, is likely
what contributes to the many health benefits we have seen in pistachio studies from recent years.”

Normal metabolisms of daily life – everything from eating, breathing, and exercising to the toxins we encounter in the environment – can generate free radicals in the body. Free radicals
attack healthy body cells and this damage is thought to contribute to inflammation and aging in addition to chronic health conditions, including heart disease and cancer. Health professionals
recommend antioxidants from food sources to help protect healthy cells from free radical damage in the body.

Most people know that antioxidants are beneficial to health, but many don’t know exactly how antioxidants work within the body. To see an informational video on antioxidants, go to

A summary of additional findings from the study include:
• Pistachios have a wide variety of important phytochemicals including different members of the vitamin E family (β-tocopherol and γ-tocopherol), carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-   carotene), phenolics and flavonoids.

• Pistachios have high antioxidant activities as measured by both ORAC and CAA. CAA measures antioxidant activity in a cell—how the cells take up or absorb the antioxidants—and is a more physiologically relevant assay and considered reflective of what may happen in the human body when compared to the chemical antioxidant assays.

• Pistachio phytochemical extracts showed potent antiproliferative activities against human breast, liver and colon cancer cells in vitro with exceptionally high activity seen against
the human breast cancer cells. Pistachio phytochemical extracts were shown to inhibit cancer growth in all three cancer cells (breast, liver and colon) without causing  cytotoxicity to the cells. The researchers report that this area of study is worthy of future research to determine how pistachio extracts are blocking the growth of cancer cells as seen in this new study. Interestingly, population studies show an association with high frequency of nut consumption and reduced risk of certain cancers.

“The health benefits of pistachios have been studied over the past 20 years and we are excited to dig further into the specific makeup of pistachios that maybe contributing to overall health,”
notes Amber Wilson, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition Research and Communication for American Pistachio Growers. “The results of this study confirm the high antioxidant potential of pistachios,
which is great news for those looking to add more antioxidant whole foods to their diet.”

Pistachios used in the Cornell study were grown in California and have a different nutritional profile than those grown in other countries.

Pistachios grown in the U.S. are also a plant-based source of complete protein. One serving of pistachios (1 oz or 49 kernels) is an excellent source of copper and a good source of protein,
fiber, vitamin B6, phosphorus and thiamin.

For more information about research on the health benefits of pistachios, visit

2022-10-21T13:25:17-07:00October 21st, 2022|
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