Why Are Cashews So Expensive?

Cashews are not a cheap indulgence. Even a 3.5 oz bag of roasted cashews can cost close to $7 at Beyond.  The reason: every company that offers truly organic cashews has to go through a similar, time-consuming process, which directly relates to the cost. The factors influencing cashew nut price have created an environment where cashews sell at a premium price.

In Most Countries, Cashews Are a Foreign Import

Cashew trees can only grow in tropical climates, which excludes a large majority of the world’s countries. Countries without tropical climates must import cashews from tropical countries that have become major exporters of cashews: Vietnam, India, Ivory Coast, Benin, Guinea-Bisseau, Cape Verde, Tanzania, Mozambique, Indonesia, and Brazil. Complicating matters further is that it takes two to three months for a cashew fruit to produce a cashew seed (aka cashew nuts) suitable for consumption. This makes cashews a rarity in a world that craves them.

Processing Cashews is Dangerous

The cashew seed is surrounded by a shell containing toxic oils, such as anacardic acid. This is the same acid found in poison ivy. The shell’s oils cause damage to the skin of the workers responsible for processing the seeds. Roasting the cashew nuts to destroy the toxins is dangerous as well, as the toxins are released into the air. After the toxins are removed, the cashews must be graded and sorted. The entire process is labor-intensive as well as hazardous, which helps explain part of why cashews are so expensive.

Beyond the Nut ensures that each worker has the necessary protective equipment to process the cashews while minimizing the risk of injury. In addition, repeated exposure to cashew shell oil will destroy the protective equipment, which must be replaced for the workers’ safety. Other countries and other companies minimize or neglect protective equipment for their workers, amassing a heavy cost in terms of workers and their quality of life.

Supply and Demand Influence Prices

In 2016 and 2017, cashew processing companies reported a poor crop season, drastically reducing the number of available cashews. Complicating matters was that 2016 saw a 6.1% increase in demand for cashews. This combination of low supply and high demand led to a rise in cashew nut prices. This trend could cause further complications in 2021, when cashews are predicted to be 29% of the world’s nut market.

One of the reasons why cashews are popular around the world is their nutritional value. Multiple studies praise cashews for their effects, including lowering harmful cholesterol, boosting the immune system, and fortifying muscles and nerves. The health benefits of cashews make them a popular snack even during times of surplus.

Factors That Influence Our Prices

Beyond performs business practices that might yield a more expensive cashew nuts, but it enriches communities, farmers, and businessmen in Benin. We created our own company – Tolaro Global – to process cashews. We exercise business standards that have earned us several distinctions, such as Fair Trade, USDA Organic, BRC Food, and HACCP. Because of this, you can visit Beyond’s online store and be certain that you will receive a high-quality product that enriches the hard-working people of Benin.

Customers who wish to save money on raw cashews should consider buying cashews in bulk. A bulk bag of cashews sells at more than 20% off the retail price. Customers can also choose whether the cashews arrive as pieces, halves, or whole nuts.

We believe in being up-front and honest; our corporate philosophy and standards are reflected in our cashews and the farmers that grow them. Our cashews also guarantee a guilt-free, delicious snack that any customer can enjoy. However, we’re always seeking ways to improve, so customers with feedback, comments, or suggestions are urged to contact us.