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Shelling African-grown cashews in Asia is nuts. Johnny Cashew saves them a 12,000 km trip

A Dutch food startup with a bold vision, Johnny Cashew is repairing the inefficiencies and exploitations of the global cashew trade. At the heart of the brand's strategy is an emphasis on localization. A whopping 55% of the world's cashews grow in African nations, but 88% of those nuts travel to Asia for shelling before being shipped to other continents for consumption.

For cashews produced in Tanzania and eaten in the Netherlands, this equates to an extra 12,000 km of transportation. The 'detour-cashew' phenomenon not only inflates carbon footprints but saps a country like Tanzania's potential to capture the economic value of processing. Johnny Cashew is taking an alternative route that rests on five pillars:

  • Reducing carbon emissions by shelling cashews where they're grown
  • Buying entire harvests, including broken cashews
  • Paying farmers a fair price, using a Living Income Reference Price (LIRP) developed with Lidl and Fair Trade Netherlands
  • Committing to long-term relationships with local partners throughout the chain
  • Ensuring traceability from farm co-op to retailer

Since launching its first branded products in May 2022, Johnny Cashew has expanded its range to include organic cashews and flavored nuts. The startup also markets its cashews through private labels, including Lidl's Way to Go. Initially only available in the Netherlands, Way to Go cashews will roll out to Lidl stores in nine other countries later this year.

Close-up of a bag of Johnny Cashew, showing a map of Africa and how the brand saves 57% in CO2 emissions

Trend Bite

Looking for a path toward purpose-driven innovation? Take a cue from Johnny Cashew: uncover a supply chain absurdity — like dragging nuts across the globe — and find ways to fix it. Then, make that transformation clear as day to your audience: on the front of its packaging, Johnny Cashew features both a map and a straightforward explanation of how the brand saves 57% CO2 emissions by cutting unnecessary shipping.

Innovation of the day

Spotted by: Liesbeth den Toom