Why are pili nuts so expensive? Is this just the latest superfood someone is trying to dupe you into buying? It’s not a scam and pili nuts are no joke!
There are only a few places in the world where pili nut trees (called canarium ovatum) can grow. Rainforests deep in the Philippines is one such habitat where they have been thriving for hundreds of years, providing subsistence and livelihoods for whole communities.
While a quintessential snack food in the Philippines, pili nuts were virtually unheard of in 2015 when our founder, Jason Thomas, brought them to the American marketplace. He wasn't cashing in on a trend. He simply wanted to share the amazing health benefits of pili nuts with the world. In that mission, Pili Hunters was the first American company to offer sprouted and activated pili nuts in North America.
At first glance, pili nuts seem more expensive than other popular nuts.
But the question shouldn’t be why are pili nuts so expensive, but rather, why are other nuts so cheap?
Keep reading to find out what makes Pili Hunters' pili nuts so special and worth every penny.
1. Pili Hunters pili nuts are wild
In an effort to make growing more efficient, the agricultural industry has made monocropping commonplace. Rows and rows of almond trees, for example, makes for easier, mechanized production, from shaking nuts out of trees to cracking hard shells.
This efficiency has come at a cost because instead of growing within an environment that naturally supports almond trees, pesticides and fertilizers are essential for their artificial cultivation. Even bees don’t naturally occur in these spaces. The sheer magnitude of production relies on bees being trucked in from as far as 3,000 miles for pollination.
The other expense of monocropped fruits, vegetables and nuts is that they lose their rich mineral content. For example, an apple from the 1950s had three times more nutrients than an apple today.
Unlike commercially grown nuts, our pili nuts are harvested in the wild by hand. For now, mechanical processing is not available for pili nuts due to the size of the trees and extremely hard shells.
Pili nuts are extracted from pili fruit, and one fruit (also called a drupe) produces only one nut. Instead of a machine to shake the trees, pili nut harvesters scale the tree—not with a ladder or a lift, but by climbing—and shake tree branches by hand. You can imagine how laborious and dangerous this highly skilled work is.
After pili nuts are soaked and dried in the sun, the extremely hard shells must be cracked by the only tool that makes this possible: a machete. Again this is dangerous and highly skilled work.
Perhaps surprisingly, by using wild pili nuts, we save money by not needing pesticides or fertilizers. All the nutrients pili nuts need are found in the rich, volcanic soil in which the trees grow. And the only irrigation used is courtesy of Mother Nature (a.k.a. rain). This all contributes and accounts for the amazing nutritional value that pili nuts contain. Read more about their nutrition in our blog the 6 Amazing Health Benefits of Pili Hunter Pili Nuts.
2. Pili Hunters relies on fair labor that supports communities
It takes a lot of time, energy, and labor to get pili nuts to market. Each step of the pili harvest process is supported by different people of the community, and in turn, the pili nut supports the whole community. The cost of our pili nuts reflects our commitment to supporting these communities in the Philippines who rely on this industry as their entire livelihood and we will never undercut them with shady business practices in order to obtain a cheaper product.
We also support our American communities with fairly paid positions as well so we can support our local economy, too.
When a product is undervalued, the whole labor chain that it took to get it to market is also undervalued. It’s a race to the bottom that is simply not sustainable.
3. Pili Hunters uses sprouted and quality ingredients
While we can’t vouch for others, Pili Hunters’ pili nuts offer quality. In our minds, why deliver the world’s perfect nut if the quality is less than perfect? As such, we add an extra step into our production: soaking to sprout and activate our pili nuts. Most nuts have a phytic coating that can inhibit the body’s absorption of nutrients. Pili nuts are highly nutritious. By sprouting them, we ensure this goodness is bioavailable.
When we add ingredients to our pili nuts, they’re high quality and health supporting, such as pink Himalayan salt, avocado oil, and extra-virgin coconut and olive oils. We never use artificial ingredients and oils that are commonly used as filler ingredients.
Bang for your Buck
At first glance, pili nuts are expensive, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. Because pili nuts are so high in fats, low in carbs, and choc full of essential nutrients, a handful of pili nuts go a long way to nourish and sustain you.
Pili nuts make a rich and nutritious treat to be valued and treasured for their quality, not quantity. Plus, by purchasing from Pili Hunters, your support goes a long way to sustain ethical business and agricultural practices that you can feel good about.
Not sure you can commit? No worries. Our Sample Packs are offered with free shipping so you can try a variety of flavors and find your favorite. They’re so good—we promise you’ll enjoy them to the very last bite.