KernAktuell April 2022, News

The future of pumpkin seeds in times of global crisis

The future of pumpkin seeds in times of global crisis

The 2021 season was abnormal across the board, for all types of agricultural produce. Two years of living in a pandemic, coupled with Russia’s aggressive war against the Ukraine, have left people and markets deeply scarred. When Russia attacked the Ukraine on 24th February, the world changed. Sadly, we’re forced to conclude that the only way to defend our common understanding of democracy in this geopolitical and global power struggle is to create an EU that is independent and well fortified.

Unfortunately, the amount of land dedicated to pumpkin seed farming will (in a best-case scenario!) stagnate in Europe. However, it is likely to increase in China. Over recent years and decades, market players have learned that there are few real substitutes for goods of Chinese origin. Although the baking industry and discounter supermarkets are likely to continue sourcing goods from China in the interest of keeping their prices competitive (and also on account of special baking characteristics), one can assume that many retailers and industries will increasingly align their procurement policies to focus on regionality, local production and the wish to distance themselves from totalitarian regimes such as China and Russia. Price trends for alternative seeds used in baking (e.g., linseed and sunflower seeds) will also impact availability and prices for pumpkin seeds.

Residual quantities must be treated with caution

The 2021 pumpkin seed harvests in Europe, the EU and Austria are completely sold out, conventional and organic alike. A negligible amount remains in the warehouses of speculators, retailers and large-scale agricultural enterprises who are banking on further increases in the cost of raw materials. Only a few loco reserves remain in the Chinese pumpkin seed market. In particular, very little GWS seed is available; most has already sold out at source. Only about 2000 tonnes of GWS pumpkin seeds are still available for sale in China. However, these leftovers from previous harvests must be treated with extreme caution. The concentration of pesticides in many of the batches is considerable, which means they’re not a viable option. There are no more good batches of organic pumpkin seeds left for sale in China. Unlike Europe, we (currently) assume that China will dedicate more land to pumpkin seed farming and that prices will decrease for the harvest in September. However, the purchase price in Euros will be heavily impacted by the price trend for freight costs as well as by the development of the US dollar. We don’t expect any significant increase or decrease in freight costs, but we do expect the dollar to grow stronger over time. Without a doubt, increased costs for personnel and energy will play an important role on a global scale. For the next few months, we recommend a conservative procurement policy that will tide stocks over to the 2022 harvest. The China harvest will arrive on the market in January 2023. The European/EU/Austrian harvests should be available by October 2022.

Immer auf dem neuesten Stand


Traditional Styrian
stamp press process

While modernity has brought progress in many areas, the traditional Styrian stamp press process is still the best way of making pumpkin seed oil. The main difference between this and other pressing methods is that we work with open roasting pans. At our plant, people check when the pumpkin seeds are perfectly roasted and so will yield the very best oil. This enables our experienced oil millers to produce the pumpkin seed oil that has won more prizes than any other – and which as a result of this type of pressing retains all the natural constituents. The untreated oil is not filtered; the particles that make it cloudy settle naturally when the oil is left to rest.

Read more

Our brands