Grand Carob gives the carob tree the leading role it deserves

If we want indigenous, regenerative crops to take center stage, there must be a robust market for them. And that is precisely what pea maker Nuno Alves is trying to achieve with his brand GRAND CAROB.

(Please note that this text is translated by Open AI. I write my all my peas in Dutch)

Nuno grew up surrounded by the impressive carob tree, a common sight throughout the Algarve. He used to meet his friends under the “Alfarrobeira,” and the taste of the fruit is dear to him. Nuno is proud of carob and wants to give the dark-brown pod the prominent role it deserves, steering away from the applications we typically associate with it, such as a chocolate substitute, thickener, and yes, even rabbit food.

The young entrepreneur is convinced that carob is the crop of the future. It is rich in fibers, calcium, and vitamins and has a sweet, caramel-like taste. Moreover, these trees are literally everywhere and play a crucial role in revitalizing areas on the brink of desertification. The cultivation requires very little water, and chemicals are unnecessary. Given Portugal’s heightened sensitivity to climate change, Nuno might just be onto something.

Six years ago, while following a dairy-free diet, Nuno sat in a pub and suddenly realized that there was no plant-based milk made from carob. He began developing the plant-based beverage in his own kitchen, using roasted coarse pieces of carob for flavor instead of the customary powdered pod. The quest for the perfect recipe eventually led to his startup, Grand Carob, a brand aimed at showcasing his beloved crop beyond Portugal’s borders.

In the small production facility in the heart of the Algarve, an impressive machine roasts the carob pods under the guidance of Jefferson, Nuno’s technical business partner. The process bears a striking resemblance to that of cocoa. However, Nuno is adamant about avoiding such comparisons because carob is not a substitute. Despite the potential market in that direction, given that carob has a significantly lower impact than cocoa on all fronts, Nuno understands the importance of framing to position carob as the future’s delectable delight.

This week, I am assisting in the production of the latest Grand Carob product, granola, featuring roasted carob pieces, local oranges, and even locally sourced salt. The product recently won a prestigious award in the UK from The Grocer. But, according to Nuno, this is just the beginning; he envisions carob having a role at every moment of the day. So, he’s actively working on new products.

Grand Carob products are already available in some Portuguese supermarkets, and the first steps are being taken to enter the Spanish market. However, Nuno also dreams of securing a spot on the shelves in the Netherlands. Portugal tends to follow trends when it comes to innovative products, and the north could be the key to further scaling up Grand Carob.

So, if you’re interested in Nuno’s products, don’t hesitate to reach out to him or me!