Changing lifestyles and rising disposable income are expected to drive cashew market growth in India in the coming years.

India remains the world’s largest consumer of cashew, processing almost half of global cashew kernels and consuming 40 per cent of the global output, says J. Rajmohan Pillai, Chairman of Beta Group which owns the brand NutKing.

The United States is a distant second, accounting for 10-15 per cent of global consumption. In contrast, India exports only 10 per cent of its output, down from 35 per cent in pre-pandemic times. This is mainly because of an overwhelming rise in domestic demand, replacing the exports, he said.

Giridhar Prabhu, Achal Industries, Mangalore pointed out that cashew was earlier used as a snack item and now it is a part of grocery among households, thanks to supermarkets and big retailers who made the product accessible to consumers. Online food delivery players also offered a major role in making cashew accessible at the doorstep. Besides, the usage of cashew as an ingredient by HORECA segment, desserts makers also helped the consumption to expand. The rise in domestic consumption has impacted exports, he said.

Health consciousness

With increasing health consciousness, Pillai said consumers are choosing to snack healthy, owing to which the demand for flavored cashews is rising. However, the cashew market in the country is likely to be hampered as the local population prefers other lighter snacks, available at lower prices, for on-the-go snacking.

The cashew market in the recent years has seen a rapid shift in the consumption pattern across India, primarily owing to flavored assorted cashew products occupying an increased share in the retail market space. Kernel prices are expected at ₹615-625 per kg this fiscal, up almost five per cent on-year, on increasing domestic demand, changing food preferences, and increased affordability among consumers, he said.

Quoting figures, Pillai said the global cashew market is set for continued expansion, with forecasts indicating it to reach $9.3 billion by 2028 with a CAGR of 4.14 per cent during the period from 2023 to 2028.

The India cashew market size is expected to grow from $2.31 billion in 2023 to $2.79 billion by 2028, at a CAGR of 3.80 per cent during the forecast period (2023-2028).

According to Giridhar Prabhu, the global raw cashew production is on the rise especially in countries such as Cambodia, Ivory Coast. New countries are also coming up. But in India, the raw cashew production needs to expand to reach two million tonnes just to satisfy Indian consumption and export at least 100,000 tonnes of kernels per year by 2030.