Since prehistorical times, proven by fossiles found in Mesplithic and Neolithic sites in Sweden, Denmark and Germany, the hazelnut formed part of the primitive man. The origin of the hazelnut seems to be in Asia, from which they extended to Europe, where it constitutes one of the oldest agricultural cultivations.
Presently the principal hazelnut producing countries are Turkey, Italy, Spain, Georgia, Azerbaijan and The United States.
Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts. Very few countries in the world have a climate as favorable for hazelnut production as that of Turkey. Today, out of 900,000 hectares of world hazelnut production areas, 700,000 hectares belong to Turkey. Turkey produces approximately 550,000 - 750,000 MT/Inshell a year.
Among the nuts species, hazelnuts play a major role in human nutrition and health, because of their special composition of fat (mainly oleic acid), protein, carbohydrate, vitamins (vitamin E), minerals, dietary fibres, phytosterols (beta- cytosterol) and antioxidant phenolics. The nutritional and sensory properties of hazelnuts make them a unique and ideal ingredient for various food products.