Karibu! That means ‘welcome’ in Swahili, one of the many languages spoken in Tanzania.
Cajuu, a play on the word ‘Caju’ which translates to ‘cashew’, is a brand told across two countries, and two continents.
Our story begins in the 1970’s, where Cajuu’s grandparents opened their tailoring shop in the then capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam. The shop, called Alibhai Store, specialised in suits and formal wear, collecting a range of new and regular customers over the years. The shop was a success, and continued to be one through the years. One day during the middle of measuring a customer, Cajuu’s grandparents decided to start offering food and refreshments to their clients to help pass the time, and be even more friendly. Can you guess what the food was? Well of course, it was cashews!
Whilst that might seem odd that it wasn’t the contemporary tea and biscuits like here in the UK, over there cashews were grown within the family, so they weren’t as unusual as you might think.
The customers loved them, amazed by their larger-than-normal size, crunchy yet creamy texture, and overall delectability, another success for the store. Word of the amazing cashews began to spread, some even going to the store purely for the nuts- can you believe it!?
What this resulted in was over the years, relationships formed, partnerships were established, and before they knew it, alongside the store was a cashew farming operation, producing only the largest and tastiest cashews.
And that's where Habil comes in.
One day during the summer whilst visiting family, Habil was amazed at how good the cashews were- good enough that he wanted everyone to try them. What started as an idea became a brainwave of all of the possible flavour combinations you could create using cashews, reinventing the cashew nut we already knew.
Upon his return to the UK, Habil went hard to work creating, testing, crafting and eventually deciding on flavours he believed the UK public would love as much as he and anyone else he knew who’d tried these cashews already did.
As much as he wanted to bring his family’s expertise and knowledge of cashews to the UK, he also knew that he had to ensure the farmers involved in producing the product needed to be treated well with the increase in demand. Something common within the cashew farming business is a lack of proper equipment and safety gear provided to the farmers, basic tools to ensure their health against the burning acid within the cashew shell. This laborious process is what causes cashews to be one of the costliest nuts on the market, and whilst others might have wanted to make a profit over their employees, Habil was adamant that putting people over profit would be one of the brands core values.
Zoom to 2019 when the official launch of Cajuu arrived, the range at first consisting of our classic Cashew Nut Tubes. Whilst it was slow at first, nearly all feedback loved the on-the-go sized tins, and adored the Tanzanian inspired titles of the flavours, such as Lake Natron Salt and Pepper, and Mango Moa, paying true homage to these special places from Tanzania.
Broadening to African inspired flavours brought upon Madagascan Vanilla and Salted Caramel Cashew Nuts, their slightly sweet salted and more indulgent flavour only adding to the depth of flavours Cajuu as a brand were willing to try.
Then came the revolutionary invention of the Cashew Nuts and Dips! How? Well thanks to the overly LARGE size of the cashews produced by Cajuu’s family of farmers, Habil noticed how they were big enough to hold and be able to dip. Not only would this add a new dimension of flavour and how to eat nuts, but it was something to alternate the ever morish and not as healthy ‘chips and dip’. The cashews were already vegan, made with natural, fresh ingredients- creating an equally natural and vegan dip to go with them was the next step.
Now in 2022, four years later, Cajuu is continuing to grow. We’ve launched into major supermarkets such as Ocado, Selfridges, WholeFoods Market UK, Eat17 etc as well as several independents with hopes of launching into more. We’ve increased our Cajuu family with the addition of Reuben, Leah, and Thea as our department managers, and plan to recruit more into the team. There’s even some top secret projects in motion too!
We want to bring our knowledge and family expertise of the cashew and its benefits to the world. We also want to continue to develop new and innovative cashew products and flavours, whilst putting Tanzania on the map and giving back to its cashew farming communities. We wouldn’t be able to do it without your support, and for that we are so grateful!