New research to support market perception of macadamias as a premium ingredient06/12/18
Collective focus and significant investment from key industry players in the leading macadamia growing countries marks the commencement of a world-first scientific health research project for the global macadamia industry. Led by one of the nut industry’s most credible researchers, Dr. Joan Sabate, from Loma Linda University, this strategic piece of work is significant in that will support the position of macadamias as a premium, healthy ingredient.
Macadamias: The perfect fit for growing consumer demands
“Unlocking the potential of the macadamia industry has come as a direct result of growing consumer trends regarding food choices. Modern consumers are savvy. Not only do they know what’s good for them – but they are also demanding that what they eat is ethical, premium and tasty. Macadamias answer these intersecting demands very well”, says Brian Loader, industry veteran and CEO, Green & Gold Macadamias.
“We know all nuts are very healthy. However, as macadamia marketers, we are keen to link the unique properties of macadamias to their premium status for our customers in the ingredients sector. And more importantly, we are keen to support this link with research. Interest has burgeoned across the board in health bars, ice cream, cookies, butter, milk and others. As an industry we need to drive innovation in answering consumer need for something special within the context of a healthy lifestyle. This underpins food consumption around the world. Modern consumers are responsible and educated: the tone has changed to driving sustainability for generations to come,” continues Loader.
Driving macadamia innovation to meet consumer trends
Market insights already tell us that macadamias are perceived as “rare”, “special” and “a luxury”. This is supported in that their volumes are small (60 000 mt tonnes kernel per annum) relative to other tree nuts (like almonds for example at around 1.2 million mt tonnes kernel per annum). Growing demand is supported by global crop supply forecasts doubling in the next 3-4 years. Consumers are willing to pay more for products that include macadamia nuts because they meet the requirement to serve people and planet motives. Companies are starting to understand and leverage this but we need to drive innovation and support the development of new ways to incorporate macadamias into consumer products.
The Innovation Challenge
This imperative is further bolstered by Australia’s peak industry body, the Australian Macadamia Society, who has launched the “Innovation Challenge”. The challenge involves developing innovative new products incorporating macadamias, helping to increase awareness of the importance of fresh, creative thinking in the ingredients sector. The challenge attracts entrants from food professionals and food technology students, who tend to have the freedom to truly think outside the box!
“Last year’s entries (and winners) were astonishing. We were delighted by the calibre and original thinking. Some winning recipes included “mind food bars”, “maccie ice cream” and “miso caramel cookies”. And, the best part, it looks promising that all these may actually make it into market,” says Lynne Ziehlke, market development manager, Australian Macadamia Society.
“As the market continues to grow rapidly so does the need for innovation. Macadamias are under utilised in the ingredients sector: we need to be proactively strategic as an industry to harness the the scale of this opportunity. They add value and reflect well in any product. When viewed through the lens of the consumer macadamias fit seamlessly with all global food trends: they are totally unadulterated and for the most part are consumed in their pure and natural form,” concludes Ziehlke.
We eagerly await the results from the 2018 challenge and look forward to updating you on the latest innovations.