Market Potential for Minnesota Hazelnuts
Interest in a hybrid, cold hardy wild American hazelnut/European hazelnut for the Upper Midwest has been growing for a few decades because of this hybrid's potential to yield both environmental benefits and a high-value, locally grown product. With reliable plant material just around the corner, growers are seeking quantity and pricing information on current and potential future markets. By finding a proven market interest and discovering price points for various types of product (e.g. oil, flour, kernels, etc.), researchers and growers alike hope to encourage greater planting of hazelnuts to both increase the overall hazelnut supply and produce environmental benefits. Hazelnuts have great potential to improve marginal or easily erodible lands because of their deep root systems.
This project is designed to better understand the potential markets for Minnesota grown hazelnuts. There are two components to this project: 1) Interviewing chefs about their interest in utilizing local hazelnuts and 2) Conducting a focus group with garden supply and landscaping companies to determine interest in selling hazelnut shells as mulch. These components are meant to yield a better understanding of the form in which product should be sold (e.g. hazelnut oil or whole kernels), amount of product desired, and willingness-to-pay by potential buyers.
- Community: Minnesota Hazelnut Foundation
- U of M: Mary J. Page Community-University Partnerships Fund; Center for Urban and Regional Affairs
- Amanda Sames, Graduate Research, Ph.D. student in Conservation Biology
- Karen Korslund, Program Associate for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems, RSDP
- Establish background information on hazelnut production in Minnesota by interviewing hazelnut producers and researchers.
- Conduct interviews with chefs to understand interest in locally grown hazelnuts, uncover barriers to entry, discover marketing strategies, understand willingness-to-pay, and more.
- Convene a focus group with landscape and garden center business owners to understand interest in selling hazelnut shells as a mulch product, understand willingness-to-pay, uncover barriers to entry, and more.
- Determine needs and direction for hazelnut post-production research.
- Draft a report for researchers and producers to summarize market opportunities, buyer willingness-to-pay, amount and form of product needed, potential challenges, and key next steps.
- Establish new relationships with University of Minnesota faculty and programs who can contribute to product development, testing, and marketing.
SERP FY2015: $7,000
SWRP FY2015: $7,000
Mary J. Page fund for graduate student research: ~$7,500
U of M Center for Urban and Regional Affairs: Program support