It’s tangy, sweet and packed with vitamin C. It’s exotic. And, there are already wild internet claims touting its fat-burning, lidibo-boosting powers.
What’s not to love?
Pepsi’s betting that the juice from cashew apples just might be the next coconut water or acai juice, according to a story in the New York Times.
Bright red and yellow cashew apples are the stems left over after cashew nuts are plucked for harvest. Usually, they’re left on the ground to rot in the orchards where the nuts are harvested in India. This season, however, the beverage behemoth teamed up with the Clinton Foundation to involve a local network of small farmers in India to supply the cashew apples. Pepsi will use them in a mixed fruit juice drink sold in India under the Tropicana label. It will replace more expensive juices in the drink, like apple, pineapple and banana. Eventually, the company hopes to add it to drinks around the world, according to the Times.
“We can tell a story around it,”Anshul Khanna, senior manager of juice and juice drinks at PepsiCo India, told the Times. “The cashew apple is exotic and appealing, and we think it is a premium product.” (But can it hold it’s own against maple water?)
Various local products around the world use cashew juice, including Cashewy in Thailand, where it’s promoted as “the beverage of gods.” The majority of the world’s cashew apples, however, are left on the ground to rot-and ferment, quickly. The fruits begin to ferment just 24 hours after they hit the orchard floor. That short shelf life has been the main challenge the Clinton Foundation hopes to solve by building a more efficient harvesting and distribution network.
The global head of R&D for Pepsi stumbled upon the product while in Brazil, building the company’s coconut water business. Local Indian farmers are baffled, but pleased, by their newfound ability to profit from what was considered garbage. The dozen or so growers involved in this season’s harvest told the Times that their cashew apple sales raised their families’ income by as much as 20 percent. Pepsi hopes the juice will hold the same sort of regional-gone-global appeal, and blockbuster sales, products with as quinoa and chia.
In the meantime, no one’s calling the cashew apple a superfruit – yet.