When you go to the grocery store, you’ll find aisles lined with all varieties of nuts from around the world. You’ll find a wide array from roasted cashews to pistachios to flavored peanuts and many are produced by large food manufacturing companies. You may see names you trust or prices that seem more affordable than nuts from other sources, however, large companies that produce nuts often operate like others in the food industry, with hidden ingredients and poor labor practices behind those prices. At Beyond the Nut, we are committed to ethical and transparent practices for sourcing and processing cashews. Our goal is to provide information that helps you be a responsible consumer, so we’ve compiled some information that isn’t obvious when you shop from a large nut manufacturer. You may be surprised what you learn!
1. “Roasted” Cashews Are Often Fried
Many nuts are sold roasted, either with additional flavoring like honey or purely with seasoning, because it brings out the flavors of the nuts and makes them an even more delicious snack. But if you look closely at the ingredients list on roasted cashews, you’ll see that they likely include vegetable oil high up on the list. Cashews are known for containing high amounts of healthy fat, so why would you add oil to something already fatty?
Well, many large nut companies fry the nuts in oil because it is easier for them. When you make roasted cashews, the quality depends on the cashews’ freshness, but cashews do not have to be fresh to be fried. The oil also does not have to be fresh, saving them money. This cost-saving measure also makes the final product a fatty, salty food, meaning you’ll eat more and need to restock more quickly.
If you see oil in the ingredients list of your next package of roasted cashews, be wary of whether the snack is as healthy as you think.
2. Dry-Roasted Nuts Are Not Always Fresh
It is possible to find healthier nuts in the store. “Dry-roasted” nuts will indicate that no oil was used, however, the nuts may still not be fresh if bought from a large company. There may be preservatives used to maintain the flavor of these nuts even though they are far from fresh.
The best way to find cashews that are high quality is to buy them raw. In this case, raw cashews have actually been through a cooking process to remove the toxins present in their removed shells. When you buy raw cashews, you can choose to eat them as is or you can find out how to roast cashews yourself. This gives you control over any flavoring and ingredients used and allows you to make sure your cashews contain only what you expect.
3. Their Processing Can Be Dangerous
Before they reach your shelves, cashews have gone through harvesting, processing, and packaging to be ready for consumption. While we consider them a nut, cashews are technically a seed that grows from the bottom of the fruit cashew apples inside of a shell. This shell contains toxins, meaning the cashew has to be removed from this shell and cooked to remove any trace of these substances. For large companies, this process often makes use of unsafe and unethical labor practices. The farmers that produce cashew apples in tropical locations like West Africa are compensated very small amounts for their product, then cheap labor is used to process the cashews. The working conditions for these processors are often dangerous and many people suffer from burns and other injuries in the process while being paid almost nothing. The finished cashews are then shipped to large companies and sold at a high profit that does not benefit the workers behind the cashews.
A Better Alternative
None of this means you can’t continue enjoying your favorite snack of roasted cashews- just that you might need a better company to buy from! Beyond the Nut is dedicated to not only delicious roasted cashews, but also natural products that are ethically sourced. We partner with local experts, from farmers to engineers, in West Africa to create a sustainable and thriving community that benefits from its own products. By keeping the whole supply chain local, we are able to empower local communities and employ their workers at fair rates.
You will always know what you’re getting with our cashews, from ingredients to the route they took to your front door. Our products are always high quality, making them good for your body as well as your sense of purpose. You can order raw or roasted cashews from Beyond the Nut now to support our mission.