Agri Business

Cashew manufacturers expect demand boost during festive season

AJ Vinayak Mangaluru | Updated on September 16, 2021

'Cashew has the most reliable supply chain in India'

Preference for healthier food and shift towards dry fruits from sweet boxes as gifts during the festival season along with relaxation of Covid norms in most parts of the country are likely to provide an impetus to cashew demand in the coming days.

Santosh D’Silva, President of Karnataka Cashew Manufacturers’ Association (KCMA), who expects strong demand during the coming festivals of Dussehra and Deepavali, told BusinessLine that sales during Raksha Bandhan and Ganesh Chaturthi were good with almost entire stocks at the wholesalers’ end exhausted.

“We expect a very good demand for the upcoming Navaratri-Dusshera and Deepavali season. Dry fruit hampers are replacing sweet boxes in a big way this year as people shift to healthier options. With most of the States having relaxed the Covid restrictions, we expect people to come out in good numbers. This would drive up sales for cashew wholes for gifting and cashew brokens for manufacturing sweets,” he said.

The cashew industry experienced strong demand from all its consuming segments as the industry was fully operational only in Karnataka throughout the year. Most of the other processing centres have had lower scale of operations due to many factors, Covid being the main one, he said.

Due to this, there was a shortage of processed kernels, and industries from Karnataka were able to make good use of this opportunity to increase the volumes as well as capture newer markets. The understanding that cashew is a healthy snack and an immunity booster (because of the presence of nutrients like zinc) is driving up retail sales, D’Silva said.

K Prakash Rao, Chairman of Karnataka Food Processing and Agri Task Force of CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), Karnataka, who is also a cashew manufacturer, said the industry is anticipating a good off-take in the days ahead with the festival season coming in. “We will see a good demand and buoyancy in the cashew market ahead of Deepavali,” he said, adding that a steep increase in almond prices is another factor that may help raise the demand.

Rise in almond prices

Rao said the price of almonds almost doubled in the past few weeks. This increase is due to several factors, particularly due to short shipments from California as the region is facing a drought. Predictions are that the almond crop will be much lower compared to last year, he said.

“Compared to the rest of the dry fruits in the basket, cashew is more attractive in the current pricing and therefore, we expect a better demand for cashew in this festival season in October and November,” Prakash Rao said.

Stating that cashew has an advantage over other dry fruits in regard to supply, D’Silva said the processing of cashew entirely happens in India. Most of the raw materials required for the upcoming season have already been harvested, arrived or is in transit, thereby reducing the possibility of any supply side disruptions. Factories are fully operational now. Of all the dry fruits and nuts being sold, cashew, today, has the most reliable supply chain in India. Any surge in demand can be immediately met, D’Silva said.

He said that cashew wholes are getting good traction in the market because of the shift in perception. Cashew has visibly replaced a lot of packaged snacks as a preferred table/bar snack. Cashew brokens are also in good demand as the sales of sweets have increased and most of the hotel industry is back in action, he added.

Published on September 16, 2021

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