Home   >   NEWS & VIEWS   >   News

  • Agricultural products for export 2024: Cashew nuts target the healthy food market 03/28/2024

    Mar 28th, 2024

    Opportunities in the healthy snack market
    According to Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, Vietnam Trade Counselor in Sweden, the increasing demand for healthy snacks combined with the need to find stable and sustainable sourcing are the leading driving forces promoting the interest in healthy snacks. growing consumer interest in cashews in Europe, including the Nordic countries.

    Nuts, including cashews, are highly valued by European consumers. Consumption of nuts is expected to have the highest growth in the snacking segment. In major consuming countries, cashews are considered a healthier alternative to other salty snacks such as crisps, and are healthier than peanuts.

    With busy lifestyles, European consumers are replacing traditional lunch breaks with healthy snacks. Among them, nuts are an important ingredient. There is growing interest in vegan diets, the consumption of salty nuts (considered a healthy snack), nut spreads (such as cashew butter), and the use of manufactured beverages. production from edible nuts (cashew milk) is on the rise. Nuts help consumers meet their protein needs and address lactose intolerance when animal protein is not available.

    2024 seafood production ?hat guides the fragile food market
    Vietnam's exported cashew kernels are currently used directly by many European consumers without roasting or frying. Photo: Thanh Son.

    Many nutrition experts around the world support the nutritional benefits of nuts. Among them, cashews are considered rich in phosphorus, copper and magnesium, which are not often found in other foods. Cashews, along with pistachios, have the lowest fat content of any nut. Nearly 80% of the fat in cashews is unsaturated fat, which helps maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Cashews are also rich in tocopherols and phytosterols.

    With the above great health benefits, cashew nuts are being used more and more in Europe. Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy said that the largest segment using cashew nuts in Europe is the snack segment. About 90% of imported cashew nuts in Europe are sold as snacks, mainly salty roasted snacks. Cashew kernels are also increasingly used in the food processing industry as raw materials.

    For some time now, the most consumed salty snack in Europe has been crisps. But nuts (including cashews) are increasingly consumed and are considered a healthier option than potato chips.

    In the snacks segment, two different trends are influencing cashew consumption in Europe. One is to develop different roasted flavors to diversify products and suit different taste preferences of consumers. Another trend is the growing availability of unsalted and unroasted cashews as a healthier alternative to salty snacks.

    Mr. Vu Thai Son, Chairman of Binh Phuoc Cashew Association, Chairman of Long Son Joint Stock Company - the leading cashew kernel export company in Vietnam, also said that the current trend of eating cashews is to eat them right away, with Vietnamese cashew kernels. Exported to many markets and used as food. Long Son has sold cashew kernels to a supermarket belonging to the Walmart system in the UK. The supermarket responded that, previously, 70% of imported cashew kernels were roasted, fried and then sold to consumers. But now, after importing cashew kernels from Vietnam, 70% will be packaged and sold to customers by supermarkets, the roasted and fried rate will only be 30%. The proportion of cashew kernels used straight away, without roasting, is increasing. With this trend, making white cashew kernels can be considered deep processing.

    In addition to the European market, demand for cashew nuts is also increasing as a healthy snack food in many other markets. Ms. Chen Ying, Secretary General of the China Nut Association (CNA), said that nuts, including cashews, are being used more and more in this country because Chinese people consider them good for health. Imports of edible plant nuts into China have increased quite a bit since 2017. Nuts currently widely used in China are walnuts, pine, macadamia, hazelnuts, cashews... Among them, cashew nuts and pistachios are two types of nuts that China depends entirely on imports. Vietnam currently accounts for 70% of China's imported cashew nuts.

    Go into the food processing industry
    2024 seafood production ?hat guides the fragile food market
    Demand for cashew nuts in Europe, China... is increasing because this type of nut is good for health. Photo: Thanh Son.

    In addition to being used as snacks and snacks, cashews are also becoming an important ingredient in many functional food products and health foods, such as breakfast cereals, cashew butter, and nut milk. cashews, cashew yogurt, cashew cheese, cashew protein snacks, fruit and nut bars, and chocolate products with cashews... In addition to food industry products, the use of cashews in home cooking as an ingredient in salads and meals is also increasing.

    Also according to Ms. Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, the ingredient segment in food processing accounts for about 10% of the European cashew market. It is expected that this food processing segment will increase its market share in the next few years.

    In the segment using cashew ingredients, the confectionery industry mainly uses cashew flakes and chips to produce chocolate snacks. In addition, chocolate-coated whole cashews are increasingly being offered as a new product after the success of chocolate-coated almonds in some European markets.

    The bakery industry uses cashews to spread on cookies and cakes. Cashew spread is a new product in some European markets and is promoted as a healthier alternative to peanut butter. In addition, cashew butter is also mixed with other ingredients to bring more flavor to consumers.

    The breakfast cereal industry is launching new nut-rich granola products, which often use cashews. Protein bars and fruit seeds are increasingly being offered as an alternative to sugary snacks and chocolate. Cashews are often used as an ingredient in such products as a source of plant protein.

    2024 seafood production ?hat guides the fragile food market
    A cashew garden in Bu Gia Map district, Binh Phuoc. Photo: Thanh Son.

    Vegan milk uses cashews as an ingredient to produce cashew milk, yogurt, and vegan cheese. Other segments where cashews are used include ready meals and sauces, such as pesto, where cashews are used as a substitute for more expensive pine nuts.

    According to the Vietnam Trade Office in Sweden, European traders are tending to seek sustainable sources of nuts. Sustainability in the edible nuts trade was once used to target niche markets (such as FairTrade), but now sustainability claims and certifications are among the Main trends in the mass market. In 2020, the EU established an official policy called the European Green Deal, which includes a farm-to-fork strategy and a biodiversity strategy. Both policies affect food production and trade. Aspects of the European Green Deal related to sourcing cashews and other nuts from developing countries are: reducing pesticide use, increasing organic production and switching to packaging materials sustainable package.