Cashews are one of the most delicious, nutritious nuts in the world. We love working with them and becoming inspired by their rich, nutty flavor and distinctively creamy texture. Our cashew-based nut butters and bars are perennial customer favorites.

Our Certified Organic, Fair Trade Certified cashews come from a community of growers in Benin. They are fair labor (SMETA) certifiedguaranteeing the ethical treatment of those involved in producing their cashews. Founded by a fellow Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, our Benin-based cashew exporter also founded Projects for Progress, which supports sustainable projects in Africa including clean water, community education, small business development, and health. 


Cashew farmer image. Photo by Mary Hicks.  Property of Tolaro Global.

Why are Fair Labor cashews important? 

When it comes to cashews, buyers should beware. The global cashew industry often uses a brutal production process that includes forced labor and the exploitation of children. As documented by the International Labour Organization and Human Rights Watch, increased demand for cashews has driven producers to hire cheap labor, including children, to keep costs down. In parts of Vietnam, for example, Human Rights Watch documented forced labor among vulnerable members of society, including inmates in prison on drug charges—for whom the grueling work, for little or no pay, is called “rehabilitation.” If they refuse to work or do not meet their daily quota, they are punished with torture or solitary confinement.

In separating the cashew nut from the skin, toxic oils are released, exposing workers without adequate safety protection to toxins that can damage their skin and eyesight, among other things. In most cashew-producing countries, this labor is done primarily by women who are often subjected to harsh working conditions and not earning living wages.

(Image, right, by Mary Hicks. Property of Tolaro Global.) 

A jar of Cashew Butter and an acai bowl

You can make a difference.

We're big believers in “voting with your dollars,” or directly supporting businesses that align with your values. One of our core values is to partner with like-minded people on both sides of our supply chain, and that means working with people who prioritize ethical, transparent production methods that are good for people and the planet. 

Cultivation & Harvest

Known botanically as
Anacardium occidentale, the cashew is actually the seed of the tropical cashew apple (have you noticed the botanical illustration on our Cranberry Cashew Peanut Butter Bar wrapper?). The cashew plant is an evergreen shrub closely related to mango, pistachio, and poison ivy that originated in Brazil and made its way to India & East Africa in the 16th century. 

These days, cashews are grown in a variety of warm, humid climates such as Vietnam, West Africa, India, Brazil, and Indonesia. Cashews must be harvested by hand, one at a time, making them very labor-intensive and expensive to bring to market.


Fair Labor Cashew Products

You can find Fair Labor cashews in all of our cashew products, including Cashew Butter with Coconut Nectar, Lemon Coconut Cashew Butter, Vanilla Caramel Almond & Cashew Butter, Cranberry Cashew Peanut Butter Bars, and Lemon Blueberry Cashew Butter Bars.


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