The global cashew market size reached USD 7 billion in 2022. It is estimated to reach an expected value of USD 10.5 billion by 2031, exhibiting a CAGR of 4.6% during the forecast period (2022-2031). One of the most popular edible nuts on the market is cashew nuts. The kidney-shaped nut known as the cashew is high in protein, vitamin K, fat, and oil. Before eating, cashews are roasted, and the shell is removed. Plastic is made from the cashew oil that is taken from the nut.
Cashews are typically picked towards the end of the summer and grow close to coastal locations. The food and beverage sector frequently uses cashews in sweets, ice cream, and restaurants as a snack and ingredient. Cashews provide several health advantages, including lowering blood cholesterol levels, reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, preventing cancer and gallstones, and supporting healthy brain function. As consumers have been shifting to healthier diets and increasing the usage of cashew nuts in ready-to-eat foods, the cashew nut market is growing tremendously.
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Development of the Cashew Market in the African Region
Governments of Africa are reforming markets and revitalizing institutional infrastructure. The cashew boards and councils of various African countries are bringing discipline to the cashew trade and collaborating with other countries, such as Vietnam, to access processing technology. The main reason behind the development of the African cashew market is "The African Cashew Initiative," which was created in 2009 to improve primary production, processing, and market linkages along the value chain of the cashew market. The project uses advisory services and training at all stages of the production process to help the cashew farmers and processors in five African countries, such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Mozambique, to meet international standards. This project mainly focuses on supporting producers and processors to increase the yields and quality of their products and linking the business actors along the chain. Hence, through this initiative, cashew production has grown tremendously in the African region, which boosts the cashew market globally.
Increasing Demand for Healthy Cashew Snacks
Since many years ago, edible cashews have been used as a snack and as one of the primary ingredients in desserts and other dishes, mainly in Asian cuisine. Additionally, cashews are being utilized more frequently as an ingredient in ice cream, energy bars, biscuits, and muesli. One ounce of cashews includes 622 micrograms of copper, considered high in minerals supporting human bone health. According to the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council, this otherwise has a consumption pattern driven by inflation.
Compared to peanuts, cashews are relatively high in fiber, promoting healthy weight growth by enhancing digestive function. The nutritional benefits also extend to a high iron and magnesium content in cashews compared to peanuts, which enhance the enzymatic reactions in the body. Due to the high nutritional content, snack producers have introduced several cashew-based snacks to fulfill consumer demand, including ready-to-drink cashew milk, a lactose-free milk alternative. In addition, cashews are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and are a good source of protein. This rich fat content of cashews makes them a seamless substitute for heavy cream, as it is increasingly used in a variety of sweet or savory dishes as a healthy vegan alternative to heavy whipping cream in the United States and Europe.
According to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, persons who eat nuts more than four times per week can reduce their risk of coronary heart disease by 37%. With such results, it is expected that more cashew may be used to manufacture snack bars, which are a healthy alternative to high-calorie chocolate bars. Hence, the cashew nut market is growing globally due to consuming various cashew-based snacks and ready-to-eat foods in developed and developing countries.
Stringent Regulations Related to Food Quality Standards
The working environment of many small-scale cashew-processing units is deplorable and unsanitary, which results in the inferior quality of cashew nuts with high levels of contamination. While machines are brought to scale up the operation, it also produces specific quality issues. Additionally, storing high-moisture cashew nuts under opposing conditions in countries such as the Ivory Coast and Ghana may result in aflatoxin contamination, a rising concern in food safety. Due to this, cashew production remains low. Consumers' increasing significance to convenience and health acts positively on luxury snack nuts, such as cashew. On top of this, consumer trends are institutional issues of food safety and certification.
Additionally, exporters of cashew nuts to the United States should conform with the proposed "Current Good Manufacturing Practice and Hazard Analysis and Risk-Based Preventive Controls for Human Foods" since 17 September 2015. Similar strict food safety laws and controls are applied in the European Union, Canada, India, and several other processed cashew-importing countries. Hence, the above factors hinder the growth of cashew nut production, negatively impacting the market.
Increased Demand for Cashew-Based Processed Foods and Tremendous Government Support for Cashew Farmers
Global cashew production has been increasing due to the popularity of cashew-based snacks worldwide due to their taste and nutritional benefits. Moreover, with the changing lifestyle and rising awareness, the demand for plant-based diets has increased recently. The spread of cashew milk and nut butter has gained popularity worldwide, especially in North America and Europe. Furthermore, according to a study published in the British Journal of Nutrition, the risk of coronary heart disease can be reduced by 37% in people who consume nuts more than four times a week. Hence there should be an increase in the production of cashew nuts.
The Cashew Export Promotion Council Of India (CEPCI), in association with INC (International Nut and Dried Fruit Foundation) Spain and other world cashew players, has signed an agreement forming a global cashew task force for improving world cashew production. They have requested the government to extend finance to benefit the cashew farmers and increase cashew nut production. Hence, production has been growing due to the increased demand for cashew-based processed foods and tremendous government support for cashew farmers. All these factors are anticipated to boost the market growth in the coming years.
The global cashew market is segmented by form and region.
By form, the global market is segmented into whole kernels, desert kernels, pieces, and scorched kernels. The whole white kernels segment accounted for the largest market share during the forecast period. White kernels have a whitish ivory hue and lack dark black or brown spotting, making them the purest cashew grades. The market's most widely acknowledged grades are WW-180, WW-210, WW-240, and WW-320. There are currently no automated solutions on the market to grade the white wholes sector and estimate the standard criteria, like color and shape. Ivory Coast exports white kernels primarily to Europe, the US, and Canada. The best cashew kernels are whole whites, typically used in baking confections and enjoyed as unflavored, roasted, or natural snacks. The global demand for kernels has increased as a result of people eating more of them due to increased health consciousness. This has resulted in increased production of high-quality whole white kernels by manufacturers.
The scorched kernels segment is the second largest. Scorched kernels have a darker reddish coloring than whites due to overheating during roasting. To access the global market price, cashews under this grade should be completely free from infestation, insect damage, and mold, and the general grades are SW-180, SW-210, SW-240, SW-320, and SW-450. As the prices are not available on public domains, EU buyers generally decide their scorched wholes grade cashew prices based on online auctions. Scorched kernels are mainly exported to Morocco from Ivory Coast. They have all the characteristics of whole kernels and possess the same nutritional value. These are used in confectionery for baking and are preferred by consumers as snacks for the enhanced roasted flavor in the kernels. The increasing demand for cashew nuts has created the need for second-quality nuts. Due to the price sensitivity of consumers in countries with low purchasing power, scorched variety is widely used.
By Region, the global cashew market is segmented into North America, South America, Asia Pacific, and Europe.
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North America accounted for the largest market share and is estimated to grow at a CAGR of 3.2% during the forecast period. Owing to the high growth rate of imported cashew prices, the market value is expected to increase at a higher rate than the consumption volume. Cashew consumption is mainly concentrated in a few states, such as California, Florida, New York, Texas, and New Jersey. There has been an increasing application of cashew nuts in the end-user food market in the country. For instance, cashew nuts are used in snack items. Snacks alone account for over 60% of the demand for cashews. The snacks market is expected to grow in the country in the forecast period, increasing cashew imports. Raw or roasted cashews are also used to manufacture cashew butter, an alternative to peanut butter for those allergic to peanuts. Some companies manufacturing cashew butter in the United States include Bulk Nation USA, Once Again, Bassé Nuts, and Georgia Grinders. Thus, the growing consumer demand for cashews nuts by the population in the country, coupled with the rising needs from the processing industry, is further propelling the consumption of cashew nuts in the country.
Asia Pacific is the second largest region. It is estimated to register a CAGR of 3.3% during the forecast period. Chinese consumers are looking for diverse nut flavors and products. Therefore, the consumption of cashew nuts is increasing much faster than other nuts. The younger consumers (ages 19 to 35 years), predominantly female professionals, have become the primary force driving the consumption of cashew. These factors can further increase the consumption of cashews in the market. Moreover, in China, roasted nuts and seeds, biscuits and cakes, dried bean curd, and candies or chocolates are the most consumed products during snack time. Among others, roasted nuts and seeds, such as cashews and almonds, are the most sold snacks which occupy the dominant position among all snack foods. The roasted nuts and seeds registered the highest sales rate in the Chinese snack food market, as taste, nutritional added value, and health benefits play an essential role. In other countries, dried fruits are mainly used as food ingredients for preparing foodstuffs, but in China, dried fruit is considered a sort of snack. There is a common belief among Chinese consumers that dried fruit has additional natural value to benefit health and nutrition. Therefore, with these indulgence factors, Chinese cashew consumption is expected to increase significantly.
Europe is the third largest region. Across European countries, Germany is the largest consumer of cashew nuts. The demand for cashews as snacks in Germany is seasonal, peaking in the winter and falling during the summer seasons. There has been an increasing application of cashew nuts in the end-user food and beverage industry. Industrial users have taken a recent interest in cashew nuts, using them in cookies, and cereals, as a topping on ice cream and to produce cashew nut butter. The consumption of cashew nuts increased due to the increasing trend of healthy snacking. Spreads and snack bars increasingly contain cashew nuts as an ingredient (especially organic). German company Intersnack engages in processing and packaging. Additionally, it operates in many other nations throughout the globe, including Australia, India, Vietnam, and Singapore. German organic food producer Alnatura has a sizable cashew nut product line. As a result, the country's consumption of cashew nuts is further fueled by the processing industry's rising need for cashews. A similar uptrend in demand is expected in the coming years.
Key players in the global cashew market are