This Hawaiian Startup Upcycles Cashew Fruit Into Vegan Meat


3 Mins Read

There’s a new plant-based meat in town and it’s not made from soybeans, peas or wheat. Instead, it’s made from upcycled cashew fruit—and Hawaiian startup Cajú Love has become the first to introduce this new vegan meat alternative to the US. 

Cajú Love just created the first cashew fruit meat introduced to the US market. Instead of using typical plant protein ingredients such as soybeans or wheat, the Honolulu-based company’s whole food clean label vegan meat is made from cashew fruit that would otherwise be food waste. 

Cashew fruit meat

Cajú Love Founders

Cajú Love sources its cashew fruits from the cashew nut and juice industry, which throws away millions of pounds of the fruit every year. The startup uses these discards, which contain nutritious fibre, into a healthy, whole-food vegan meat substitute that fights food waste. 

“When I found out that cashew nuts grew on a fruit that was considered waste in the nut industry, I knew we had to do something to change that. The fruit is full of health benefits and cooks just like chicken, pork, tuna, and ground meat—it is delicious,” explained Felipe Barreneche, co-founder of the family-run startup.

As the company is using up a by-product from food production, its plant-based meat alternative does not require any additional land or water for production, making it stand out in terms of its sustainability credentials. 

Health-wise, cashew fruits are loaded with healthy fats, fibre, minerals and proteins. Cajú Love adds that its vegan cashew fruit meat is suitable for a wide range of diets, being gluten-free, GMO-free, and soy-free. It is also Kosher and paleo-friendly. 

Making sustainable choices accessible

Sharing more about their newly launched brand, co-founder Alana Lima said that Cajú Love was created to “make it easy for people to make a positive impact in the world and their life through their food choices.”

“Everything we consume directly affects our health and the health of our planet,” Lima continued. “Cashew fruit meat is an extremely nutritious food for a healthy lifestyle and one of the most sustainable food options. With every cashew meat pack you purchase, you are helping divert food waste and reduce water and land use for food supply.”

At the moment, Cajú Love sells its cashew fruit meat on its direct-to-consumer website, available for delivery across the US nationwide. Each 200-gram package is priced at $29.99, with 10% lower prices for those who opt for a monthly subscription. 

Diversifying plant-based ingredients

More companies are now diversifying the range of plant ingredients used to develop novel alternative proteins. Some of them include Growthwell, a Singapore-based firm that uses chickpea protein in its plant-based meat and seafood range, and Karana, another Singapore startup tapping young jackfruit meat for its whole food vegan alternative. 

Unique plant ingredients are also making their way into the plant-based dairy world, with a number of food techs using everything from pecans and pistachios, to potatoes, millet and black-eyed peas to make new dairy-free milks.


All images courtesy of Cajú Love.


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