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Pili Pi Nuts introduces pili nuts to European market

"A new nut on the shelves will quickly attract a lot of attention"

Pili nuts. It won't ring a bell for many right away, but with this new introduction to the nut landscape, Pili Pi Nuts is taking the European market by storm. "Of course, it is not often that a new nut appears on the market, so we see that there is already a lot of interest in this special, buttery nut from the Philippines," says Ties Minnen of producer and importer Pili Pi Nuts.
Left: pili nuts in shell with notch. Right: pili nut kernels.

It may not be a completely unknown nut for everyone, as German company Die Frischebox introduced the nut to the European market back in 2019. At the time, this introduction was, by the company's own admission, quite successful. However, a recall and a mandatory Novel-Food procedure by the European Commission were game-breakers at the time, so the Dutch director of Die Frischebox André Wielink decided to import the nut himself. For this project, he enlisted the help of Ties Minnen to set up the factory in the Philippines and serve the European sales market. "I already had a lot of experience setting up and running my own mango and coconut drying factory, AfriFruta, in Mozambique, as well as having supervised several food production companies in developing countries. I am now putting that experience to use to supervise the production of Pili nuts in the Philippines."

The Pili Pi Nuts team in the Philippines; Ties Minnen is in the middle.

"So in addition to this, we also became partners in marketing," Ties continues. "For Die Frischebox, we produce and package its Red Rhino brand, where the pili nuts arrive in supermarkets in notched. These come with an additional nutcracker. We, with Pili Pi Nuts, do all the variants. Besides the pili nuts in shell, these are unprocessed pili nut kernels, as well as a caramelised variant and a blanched salted variant. The caramelised pili nut in particular is very well received by consumers, as the buttery nut contrasts nicely with the crispy caramelised rim."

Pili nuts packed in bulk in the Philippines. Ready for shipment to Europe.

"What further distinguishes the nut is its nutritional values. In fact, it is the only nut that contains almost no carbohydrates, making it ideally suited for athletes. Moreover, it fits perfectly within a keto, paleo, or as a supplement for fats, among other things, in a vegan diet. The pili nut also scores particularly high on various vitamins and minerals compared to other nuts."

Wild pick
So the company imports the nut from the Philippines, which is the only place in the world where the pili nut grows. "In a volcanic area in the Bicol region of the Philippines, the wild growing pili trees with the nuts can be found. Here, they are extracted from sometimes 25-metre-high trees that are more than 100 years old, by locals. Then they are processed. Its a very special process that creates many jobs in rural areas of the Philippines. Wild picking actually goes one step further than organic, as the pili nut thus grows not only without pesticides, but also without artificial irrigation or fertilisation. A completely natural and peaceful development of the nut on the fertile volcanic soil."

The introduction of the pili nuts started early this year and Pili Pi Nuts can now be found in Italy, Switzerland, Germany and Denmark. "It is nice that we have already managed to reach so many markets in such a short period. The key is to keep the processing capacity at the factory in the Philippines growing well along with it in the coming years." Ultimately, Ties expects volumes to be higher than in the US market, where the nut is now firmly established under various brands. "From response from our partners, but also at trade shows, you see that many people are intrigued about the pili nut. As indicated, you don't see a new nut very often. The key for us now is to introduce the wider public to the pili nut," Ties concludes.

For more information:
Ties Minnen
Pili Pi Nuts
Ruysdaelhof 2
5642 JM Eindhoven
[email protected]

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