Cashews from Binh Phuoc - the Land of "King of Cashews"
Since 2017, Vietnam has become the Number One hub of cashew nut processing and largest exporter of cashew kernels in the world, accounting for over 50% of the world processed raw cashews. In Vietnam, Binh Phuoc province is the largest region of high-quality cashew growing due to its warm and moist climate conditions similar to the origin area in South America. In Binh Phuoc, farmers plant cashew trees that are of South America origin, and produce more than 50% of the country’s cashew consumption and exports.
Vietnam is the leading exporter of cashew to US, Europe and the rest of the world, accounting for 50% of processed raw cashews and over 60% of cashew nuts exported across the globe. The export markets of Vietnamese cashew nuts are very diverse: Spain, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Russia, Switzerland, USA, Australia, South Africa, UAE, India, Singapore, Japan and many others.
Top 4 countries that Vietnam exports cashew nuts to are the U.S., the Netherlands, China and Germany. Vietnamese cashew nuts currently account for about 90% of the market share in the US and China, 80% in the Netherlands, and 60% in Germany. Most updated data as of 2022 is reported here.
Types of Cashews for Exports
The main product for export is Whole White Cashew, of which 80% is whole kernels and 20% is broken kernels. The high percentage of whole cashew is due to shelling by hand which is labor-intensive. W320 Cashew grade is the most popular product for exports.
Main types of Vietnam cashew products for Exports:
- Raw Cashew Nut: A small of high-quality raw cashew nuts is exported. The rest is used by local cashew factories or food industry.
- Cashew Nut Kernel: High-quality cashew kernels such as W240, W320, W450, WS, WB, SS BB… are exported to EU, USA, Russia, Australia, UAE, India, Singapore, Japan.
- Cashew Oil: The oil extracted from the hard outer shell of cashew nuts is useful for industrial use. Main markets are China, South Korea, Indonesia, Spain, Japan.
- Cashew Shell: Cashew shell is the primary raw material for the production of cashew shell oil products. Main markets are China, India, Laos.
Processing of Cashew Kernels
Cashew kernel is the main product of cashew nut, with nutty flavor and rich taste. There are four main types:
- Whole Cashew Kernel: mainly consumed as roasted and salted.
- Broken Cashew Kernel: used in the food industry, e.g. chocolate, pastry, biscuit.
- Cashew Nut Meal: a by-product from cashew kernels, used for animal feed or cattle feed, or mix into the food for animal.
- Cashew Nut Oil: used for cosmetics or food preparation.
Since 2006, Vietnam has become the largest producer of cashew kernels, with an export volume of 127,000 tons worth US$504 million. In 2020, Vietnam exported about 450,000 tons of cashew kernels with a total value of US$3.28 billion.
Standard of Processing of Cashew Kernels:
- Collection & Drying: The raw cashew nuts are collected from farmers and dried in the sun to remove excess moisture.
- Steam Roasting: The steam roasting process is to help with the removal of outer shell of cashews. The outer shell is very hard and therefore it is required a proper steam roasting in advance.
- Shell Cutting: The shell cutting process is to remove outer shell so as to get inner kernels with soft shell. It requires skilled workers to separate the shell without breaking the inner core.
- Peeling: The peeling process is designed to remove the soft shell to produce white nuts, which is enhanced by cold treatment. White nuts are then sent for classification and grading.
- Grading: Cashew kernels are classified into different grands in accordance to international grading standard.
- Packing: Cashew kernels are packed in required standard packaging, if there is no special request from clients.
Grades for Exports
Vietnam Cashew Industry adopts the following industry standards:
- Vietnam Cashew Association: TCVN 4850 1998 – Vietnam technical requirements for cashew nuts. Website: https://vinacas.com.vn/
- The Association of Food Industries of New York – AFI, USA. Website: https://afius.org/
- The Nut And Dried Fruit Trade Association (previously, Combined Edible Nut Trade Association), NDFTA, UK. Website: https://ndfta.co.uk/
- The Cashew Export Promotion Council (CEPCI) of India for Grade Specification. Website: https://cashewindia.org/
In Vietnam, the grade of cashew nuts for exports is usually based on AFI Standard. The W320 cashew nut kernel is the main product for export.
Types of Cashews for exports with grades and varieties of size, shape, color, are as follows:
- Whole grades: W180, W210, W240, W320, W450, W500
- Broken grades: WB, WS, LP, LWP, SWP, SS, SP, SB
- Scorched grades: SW240, SW320, SW450
- Dessert grades: DW1, DW2, DW3, SK1, SK2, SK3
- Cashew Shell: Raw Cashew Nutshell, Cashew Shell Residues, Cashew Testa Skin (Husk)
- Cashew Oil: Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL)
- Raw Cashew: High-Quality Local Raw Cashew Nuts In Shell.
Note – Alphabets in Cashew Kernel grades stand for:
- W – White
- WW – White Wholes
- S – Scorched
- SS – Scorched Splits
- SP – Scorched Pieces
- SW – Scorched Wholes
- D – Dessert
- B – Butts
- BB – Baby Bits
- P – Pieces