In Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on a street called Jamhuri/Chagga St, is Alibhai Store a tailoring shop. How do tailors relate to a cashew product brand, you may ask?
Well, this tailors shop is where Cajuu took root.
Alibhai Store opened in the 1950’s, a suiting and tailoring business on the high street for the local public, by Cajuu’s very own grandparents. As the business grew, so did its customers and its relationships and connections with them. They began offering cashews to customers to eat whilst being fitted, not realising that due to their creaminess and deliciousness, they’d be a massive hit! People began coming to Alibhai Store for the cashews themselves, having heard about their amazing taste and wanting to be part of it themselves.
Flash forward to 2017 and two generations later where Cajuu founder Habil was visiting Tanzania to see relatives on holiday. At this point a cashew snack brand hadn’t crossed his mind, but this was all about to change.
On this trip, it was then when he had his ‘lightbulb moment’, the thought to bring these delicious cashews to the UK so those outside of Tanzania could enjoy them too. Not only were these cashews creamy and tasty, but their colossal size was definitely something that had to be shared with the world.
As the idea began to form and take shape, the lightbulb getting even brighter, Habil conducted many tasting sessions and meetings, figuring out the logistics of starting his own company whilst ensuring no corners were cut and all of those involved, especially the farmers, were going to be provided with enough pay and safety equipment.
Alongside figuring this all out, another important decision had to be made- the brand name. The cashews were certainly delicious, so it was almost a no brainer- ‘Delishews’ was born!
Originally the idea had been to sell unflavoured cashews in the UK, but then an even better idea came to mind- why not add something unique and inspired? Wanting to keep to its African heritage with Tanzania at the heart, the first 3 brand flavours were created: Lake Natron Salt and Pepper (inspired by Lake Natron with its acidic waters and dense flamingo population), Mango Moa (inspired by Moa which is renowned for its delicious mangoes), and Vanilla and Salted Caramel (inspired by the island of Madagascar and its infamous vanilla).
Founder Habil even created a new snacking concept, taking the size of the cashews and realising they were large enough to replace the regular chips and dip- he created nuts and dips, launching the first ever Cashew and Dip Snack Trays!
Everything was coming together, however something seemed off.
Whilst everything else had heritage, visible links to its origin, the name did not. Sure, it might have rolled off the tongue and sounded fun, but we wanted something that really identified not only the brand, but the story behind it.
The dominant language spoken in Tanzania is Swahili, and ‘cashew’ translates to ‘caju’.
Whilst you can’t copyright the translation of a word in another language, using the translation of a word to create a new word is 100% okay, so after adding a little spin on it, Cajuu was finally created!
That was over 2 years ago, and since then, we’ve gone from a single idea to a fully fledged product in over 130 different stores. We’ve been able to expand and recruit more staff, work with different retailers and other amazing brands, all whilst staying true to our ethics and morals.
To us, Cajuu isn’t just a brand that sells big cashews. We’re a brand that recognises the hard work the farmers do to provide us with our product, and ensure that effort and time is rewarded in pay to ensure they can provide for their families. Cajuu is a brand that cares about our planet and environment, and are working each day to lower our carbon footprint as much as possible with the hopes of eventually becoming carbon neutral. We’re a brand that wants to provide our customers with quality, premium, tasty snacks that fit multiple dietary lifestyles so we can continue to share our family heritage with as many of you as possible.
Whether you’ve been here since the beginning, or you’re a fresh face new to Cajuu, we thank you for your support, and hope you’ll continue to watch us grow even more!