). COVID-19 has a direct and negative impact on the cashew market, globally. The value addition activities were affected negatively as a disrupted distribution channel tends to lower the end-products of cashew nuts in the market.
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Producers from West Africa have suffered as they are unable to send cashew to Vietnam and India for processing due to the lockdown. The delays in collection and shipment will result in lower yields than normal, further reducing the overall kernel supplies.
The rapidly growing groups of vegans, vegetarians have prioritized plant-based diets and alternative sources of protein, instead of those derived from animals, resulting in the soaring demand for nuts and nut-infused food, thereby increasing the consumption of cashew nuts across the regions.?
Increasing demand for flavored cashews and the government initiatives are further fueling the consumption of cashew nuts in the African region. Among all the cashew producing nations, African countries contributed 56.5% of the global production, while Asian countries contributed 44%, in 2018. In the last eight years, Vietnam is the largest supplier of cashew to the United States, China, Australia, Canada, and New Zealand. Furthermore, cashew production is growing tremendously in Vietnam. The Vietnamese government commissioned a study of Oltremare’s machines when developing its own cashew industry.
Key Market Trends
Rising Consumption of Cashew as Healthy Snack
Edible cashews have been used as a snack since many years, and it has also been used as one of the main ingredients in sweets and cooking, especially in Asian cuisine. Cashews are also increasingly used as a constituent in muesli, energy bars, cookies, chocolate, and ice creams. Cashews are known to be high in nutrients, such as copper, which improve bone health in humans, as one ounce of cashew contains 622 micrograms of copper. This otherwise has an inflation-driven consumption pattern, as reported by the International Nut and Dried Fruit Council.
Cashews are relatively high in fiber when compared with peanuts, which help in gaining healthy weight by improving digestive function. Such high-value nutrition has prompted the snack manufacturers to launch several cashew-based snacks to meet the demand, such as the ready-to-drink cashew milk, which acts as a lactose-free milk substitute. There has been an increasing trend in the consumption of cashew nuts, owing to the increasing health consciousness among the consumers in the European region. Cashew nuts are also increasingly being used as an ingredient in spreads and snack bars (especially organic) over recent times, boosting the consumption of cashews overall.
Asia-Pacific Dominates the Market
Asia-Pacific has been a consistent importer of cashew kernels despite the presence of large cashew producing countries, such as India and Vietnam, in the region. Vietnam is the top cashew nut consuming country in the world. In 2019, Vietnam cashew consumption stood at 2.2 million ton. As Vietnam leads in the production of cashews worldwide, it is also a major exporter of cashews to other international markets.
Asia-Pacific is the largest consumer of cashew nuts in the world. In recent years, with the growing consumption inclining toward the use of cashew nuts in daily diets and healthy ready-to-eat snacks. The increasing number of cashew-infused product manufacturers have taken the young and geriatric consumers by stride with the innovative products, such as roasted, spice-coated cashew nuts in India. The demand for cashews in the region has persistently increased as the imports for shelled cashew increased exponentially from 2,317 metric ton in 2016 to 10,771 metric ton in 2018 in China, followed by Japan, Thailand, and India, respectively.
Nuts have become a primary constituent in the Chinese diet since the inception of the National Health Policy called “Dietary Guidelines for Chinese Residents”, emphasizing daily nut consumption. The increased cashew nut imports may also be attributed to the new product campaign of selling “daily nuts”, including cashews, in ready-to-eat packages by the Chinese nut manufacturers, thus driving the cashew nut market in the country.
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