The Cashew Journey
Did you know that West Africa is the biggest producer of raw cashew nuts accounting for 60% of the global harvest? In fact, few people understand the long journey that cashews grown in Africa travel in order to arrive in customers’ shopping bag. Only approximately 10% of the African cashews are processed (cracked, shelled and sorted) in that region, while 90% of raw cashew nuts are shipped to mainly Vietnam and India before travelling to Europe or the US to be sold in stores. This long journey can make it difficult to enforce sustainability standards and ensure that human rights are safeguarded because of extensive and complex supply chains. These challenging processes often mean more people involved, less transparency, and with it, limited ability to improve living and working conditions for farmers and workers across the sector.
Smarter partnerships for better products
At ALDI, we are working intensively to improve our cashew buying practices. To overcome certain issues and make global supply chains future proof, we are investigating partnership opportunities with West African-based cashew suppliers and processors to grow capabilities in the region. By sourcing cashew kernels from the area, we support existing processors in Africa with joint business partnerships as well as reaching the ALDI Vision 2030 of “making sustainability affordable for our customers” through:
- Reduced supply chain complexity
- Increased supply chain transparency
- Improved livelihoods in major growing regions
Protecting our farmers
Sourcing straight from growers in West Africa directly supports the livelihoods of farmers, factory workers and their families by ensuring fairer pay, gender equality and long-term community development. By also processing close to the growing sites, cashews are not only fresher and less travelled, but farmers and factory workers also know each other, creating a network of sustainable business relationships. In this way, value is reinvested into the community and supports the financial independence of the pre-dominantly female workforce on the farms and in factories. The fully traceable and hand-picked cashews from this project are embedded with the identity, trust and care of the farmers, factory workers and communities from which they come.