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Cashewmeetly and Axfood launch new sustainable vegan meat on cashew apple

For every cashew nut that is harvested, a completely edible and nutritious cashew apple is thrown away. In Africa alone, 16 million tonnes of cashews rot every year in connection with the cashew harvest. This is where Linnéa Falkinger’s idea was born to take care of the apple and refine it on site, both to create new local jobs and to create a new, versatile and natural plant-based alternative to meat in cooking. The result was Cashewmeetly, which is now being launched nationally in collaboration with Axfood.

Cashewmeetly rests on the idea of a circular, sustainable and social business model. The social entrepreneur Linnéa Falkinger wanted to create new jobs for otherwise unemployed women in Senegal, reduce food waste and offer a new sustainable plant-based food. At the same time, she wanted to reinvest part of the sales to finance children’s and young people’s schooling, support local charity projects and offer microloans to creative entrepreneurs in the country of production.

The idea was to take advantage of the cashew apple, the fruit itself and the “residual product” from the production of cashew nuts. In Africa alone, 16 million tonnes of cashews rot away each year in connection with the harvest of cashews. 57 percent of the world’s cashews come from Africa. Only 5 percent of the nuts are processed locally, which means that thousands of local jobs are lost, and nutritious food is wasted.

Via the food incubator Krinova Science Park in Kristianstad, Linnéa and Axfood got in touch at the beginning of the year. And since then, the work has been going on to develop and launch Cashewmeetly widely on the Swedish market.

– I want to build a brand that is good for people, the climate and the economy. But to really make a difference requires a lot of work with, for example, quality assurance, packaging, distribution and marketing – and to bring up large volumes. Through the collaboration with Axfood, I get a chance to reach the market broadly and in several different ways. The hope is to be able to establish Cashewmeetly globally, and start more sustainable circular productions in other countries that have large productions of cashew nuts where cashews are still wasted, says Linnéa Falkinger.

Cashewmeetly is a versatile cooking product, completely without additives. You can cook, fry, wok and grill the vegan meat, or put it in the food processor and drive to minced meat. Only imagination sets limits. Cooked, the cashew waffle is fruity, slightly sour and has good chewing resistance.

Cashewmeetly is already available at Urban Deli, and from next week also in Willys, Willys Hemma- and Hemköp stores and on Mat.se, and is thus available for purchase in over 300 stores and e-commerce across the country. At Urban Deli, there is also a chili stew and a wrap with Cashewmeetly’s cashews as an ingredient to buy, developed by Urban Delis chefs. The chili stew will be sold in a portion box and in a ready-made lunch bag.

– Affordable, good and sustainable food is the core of what we do, and this is a very interesting product that meets all the criteria, and also has a strong social dimension in the production countries. Collaborations with entrepreneurs are important in order to be able to develop and put new sustainable products on the market. Through Linnaeus’ entrepreneurship and the breadth of the Axfood family, Urban Deli has early been involved in testing the product and developed ready meals and meal solutions, and in our large chains we can make Cashewmeetly available to many, says Johan Neuman, business area manager at Axfood’s purchasing and logistics company Dagab.

Also in the collaboration is the cookbook author and vegan influencer Gustav Johansson, who runs Sweden’s most visited vegan food blog “Damn good”, and who for a long time worked to inspire and show how easy it is to cook and eat good plant-based food without having to do any great sacrifices.

– To create a vegan meat with a forgotten leftover product that is completely natural, very versatile and not least very good is fantastic. The fact that it reduces food waste, is healthy and also socially sustainable makes the whole thing even better. The market needs to be broadened for this type of product and Cashewmeetly now through the collaboration with Axfood reaches out throughout the country does this right in so many ways, says Gustav Johansson.

Facts about Cashewmeetly and cashews

Cashewmeetly consists of a single ingredient, namely 100 percent naturally processed cashew apple. The cashew apple is a so-called fake fruit, which looks like a mixture between a pepper and an apple. Under the cashew apple grows the real fruit, a kidney-shaped stone fruit, which contains the seed that most people recognize as a cashew nut.

For every 10 kilos of cashews consumed today, 90 kilos of fully edible and nutritious cashews are thrown away, which until now have been seen as a waste product. Consumption of cashews increases by about 40 percent per year, and food waste for all cashews that are discarded as well. Taking advantage of the apple and using it as a new type of vegan meat thus reduces both food waste, and the product can contribute to sustainable food production, with a product that maintains a high quality and taste, and is completely natural.

The cashew apple is low in calories and is a natural source of minerals, iron, phosphorus, calcium, protein, potassium, fiber and carotene, and the cashew apple contains 5 times as much vitamin C as an orange. The colorful by-product smells sweet, but in fresh condition has a rough aftertaste, a bit like an unripe banana. The shelf life is less than 24 hours when the apple is detached from the tree. Then the decay process begins, and millions of tons of cashews therefore rot away every year around the world, in connection with the harvest of the cashews.

Cashewmeetly takes care of the waste fruit directly from the farmers and then processes it through a special drying process. This creates a nutritious food that in cooking offers a unique, fruity and slightly sour taste and and meaty texture that fits just as well in the slow cooker as in the taco or on the skewer.

The production of Cashewmeetly creates new jobs for unemployed women in the country of production and the entire production has a social, circular and social business model. Some of the sales go directly back to the country of production to finance children’s and young people’s schooling, support local charity projects and offer microloans to local entrepreneurs.

With a long shelf life in its dried form and with the social business model that Cashewmeetly has created, the product is good for both the climate and the people along the entire product chain.

The consumer price will be around SEK 40 for a 225-gram package. When the product is dried, the weight increases about three times during cooking. A 225-gram package provides about 700 grams of cooked product. The price per kilo will thus be around SEK 177 for a dried product and SEK 59 for a cooked one. A bag with 225 grams of dried product gives 5-7 portions of cooked product with a portion cost of about 8 kronor.

Cashewmeetly is already available at Urban Deli, and from next week in Willys, Willys Hemma- and Hemköp stores and on Mat.se, and can thus be bought in over 300 stores and e-commerce across the country. At Urban Deli, there is also a chili stew and a wrap with Cashewmeetly’s cashews as an ingredient in a portion box and in a ready-made lunch bag.

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