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Cashew nut - Understanding cashew nut processing industry in Vietnam.

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

Cashew nuts are one of Vietnam's most significant agricultural products, mainly grown in the provinces of the Southeast region. After harvesting, cashew nut in Vietnam to create high-value economic products.

cashew nut are processed to create high-value economic products.

Conveyor belt in the cashew nut production process in Vietnam. Photo: collection

Vietnam is currently one of the countries exporting cashew nuts to Canada, the US, Japan, the EU, China, and Singapore with the highest turnover in the world. The entire country currently has around 300,000 hectares of cashew, concentrated in southern provinces such as Ba Ria, Vung Tau, Dong Nai, and Binh Phuoc; central provinces such as Phu Yen and Binh Dinh; and Dak Lak in the Central Highlands.

The raw cashew nuts processed in Vietnam go through various stages to transform into the tasty and nutritious products we enjoy. These procedures have developed over time, allowing for increased efficiency and more profitability with a growing demand for diverse cashew nut products in both domestic and international markets.

In 2021, despite being heavily affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, at the end of the year, cashew exports still set a record of 3.64 billion USD, up 12.9% compared to 2020.

Statistics of the General Department of Customs show that Vietnam spends up to 4.185 billion USD to import 2.87 million tons of raw cashew. That is, cashew imports increased by 91.3% in volume and 132.5% in value compared to 2020. This is also the first year that Vietnam recorded a record trade deficit after more than 3 decades of maintaining a trade surplus.

In 2022, the cashew industry regained its trade deficit position when export turnover reached 3.08 billion USD, while imports stopped at nearly 2.68 billion USD.

But, in the first months of this year, this strength of our country returned to the time of trade deficit. Specifically, in the first quarter of 2023, cashew nut exports reached 648 million USD, up 4.5% over the same period last year; while importing nearly $760 million, up 2.8% over the same period in 2022.

The EU is currently Vietnam's second largest cashew nut export market …

According the International Trade Center, in the first quarter of 2021 cashew nuts import into France reached 4,200 tonnes, worth US$ 32.97 million, soaring by 20.5% in volume and 12% in value compared to the same period in 2020.

During the same period, France reduced cashew nut imports from many suppliers but increased dramatically the imports from Vietnam, Netherland. Particularly, France imported 2,930 tonnes of cashew nuts from Vietnam, valued at nearly US$ 22 million, rising by 42.4% in volume and 28% in value over the same period last year.

Vietnam's cashew nuts made up 63.35% market share in France in the first quarter of 2021 compared to 58.70% in the same period last year.

France is considered as a potential market for Vietnam's cashew nuts. Demand for cashew nuts in this market is projected to grow in the coming time. Cashew nuts are a popular snack in France and more and more used as an ingredient in nut-based beverages such as no added sugar cashew milk or snack.

Vietnam has a rich heritage of traditional cashew processing methods that have been passed down through generations. Traditional cashew processing methods in Vietnam continue to be used, particularly in small-scale and artisanal operations. On the other hand, industrial processing methods utilize modern machinery and technology for higher efficiency and larger-scale operations.

In order to turn raw cashew nuts into products that are ready for the market, cashew processing comprises numerous crucial procedures. These steps ensure the removal of the outer shell, drying, peeling, grading, sorting, roasting, and packaging.

Cashew nut processing factory

Cashew nut processing factory. Photo: collection

  • Harvesting: Skilled farmers carefully select the ripest, ensuring they are at the peak of their flavor and quality.

  • Sun-Drying: Sun-drying is a time-honored technique that not only prepares the cashew apples for further steps but also helps enhance their flavors.

  • Shelling and Cleaning: Once the cashews are dried, the focus shifts to cracking open the hardouter shell, known as the cashew nutshell.

  • Separating the Cashew Kernels: This process requires precision and dexterity to ensure that the kernels remain intact and undamaged during this process.

  • Roasting: Cashews are roasted using a roasting machine or directly on the stove. The roasting process helps the cashews have a delicious aroma and stay fresh longer.

Top 5 "speciality" products from cashew nuts.

With the diversity of products processed from cashew nut, we can create a variety of great dishes and products for our health.

The top 5 outstanding products from cashew nuts that we love:

● Roasted salted cashews

● Cashew butter

● Glossy cashews:

● Cashew Milk

● Cashew nut cookies

The top 5 outstanding products from cashew nuts

  • Roasted salted cashews: After being roasted, cashews are mixed with salt and spices to create a delicious snack.

  • Cashew butter: Cashew butter is made from roasted, peeled cashews that are ground into a smooth, creamy spread. It has a delicious aroma, is easy to eat, and is used in many different dishes.

  • Glossy cashews: Cashews are coated with sugar and cooked to create a sweet treat.

  • Cashew Milk: Cashews are finely ground and mixed with milk to create a nutritious drink

  • Cashew nut cookies: The rich, buttery flavor of cashew nuts is combined with the sweetness of baked products to create the delectable treat known as cashew nut cookies.

The reason why you should eat cashews until now.

Cashew nut products are rich in vitamins and minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, which are necessary for sustaining good health. Additionally, they offer an array of health benefits from fat and protein, making them a valuable addition to any diet

Nutritional composition in cashews

Nutritional composition in cashews

  • Rich Source of Nutrients: Cashew nuts are a good source of protein, healthy fats, and minerals such as magnesium and copper that contribute to overall health and well-being.

  • Heart Health Benefits: Cashew nuts are a rich source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. These lipids have been proven to help lower LDL cholesterol (also known as "bad" cholesterol) while boosting HDL cholesterol (also known as "good" cholesterol).

  • Weight management: This is one of the most concerning issues for women. Contrary to popular belief, cashew nuts can be a beneficial addition to your diet. The healthy fats and fiber in cashew nut products can support your weight management goals by reducing overeating and promoting weight control.

  • Boosting immunity: Cashew nuts are a good source of zinc and vitamin E, which play a crucial role in supporting immune function. You can give your body the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy and resilient immune system by including cashew nuts in your meals or enjoying them as a snack.

Understanding production of cashew nuts in Vietnam.

Understanding production of cashew nuts in Vietnam.

As we know, cashew trees in Vietnam grow very fast and have been included in the structure of forestry crops since the 1980s. By 1990, it had become a long-standing industrial tree for export, capable of growing on many types of soil in the southeast, including the lowland Central Highlands, the South Central Coast, and some highland areas in the Mekong Delta. Vietnam's export market continued to expand more in 2022. While the United States, European Union countries, and China continued to be important markets for Vietnamese cashew nuts, Vietnam also concentrated on new markets in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.


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