A changing world
Historically, consumption of tree nuts has been dominated the ‘nut bowl tradition’ where hand shelling is practised. This has been a major marketing problem for the hard shell macadamia. However, in the last few decades world-wide dietary habits have changed with the introduction of fast foods, convenience products, clever advertising and a wider interest in exotic foods.
There was a time when chocolate coated macadamias accounted for over 85% of world consumption. In recent years, snack packs of roasted and salted macadamias have gained in popularity and now represent some 45% while cookies and other processed foods account for another 34%, leaving the usage for chocolates at a dwindling 18%.
Kernel of knowledge.
Now that all of the early problems with growing, harvesting and processing have been solved, the macadamia is well placed to expand its world market.
A major hurdle for macadamia marketeers is the lack of global awareness when compared to other nuts that have been popular for centuries. So marketing strategies tend to focus on increasing general knowledge with health promotion, cooking tips and recipes.
Australia and Hawaii are the world’s major producers, but macadamias are now grown in other countries including Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, Brazil and Central America.
ripe for export
As overseas awareness grows, so does demand. Australia’s macadamia crop, both domestic and export, is worth over $100 million annually.
About 70% is exported as raw kernel. Australia has a reputation for premium quality nuts, a highly efficient industry, innovative scientific research and a sound industry association.
Australian Macadamia Society
The Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) is a body of approximately 700 Australian and 30 overseas members representing all facets of the macadamia industry in Australia. Whilst the majority of members are growers, membership also includes such diverse occupations as processors, administrators, business people, investors, marketers, consultants, researchers, engineers, teachers and other macadamia enthusiasts.
Funding for the activities of the AMS is collected through the Federal Government Statutory levy system on nut-in-shell production that formally ties the industry to Horticulture Australia Ltd (HAL).
The AMS was founded with the objectives of co-ordinating and promoting all aspects of the industry, to encourage free exchange of ideas and information and to foster goodwill among members.
Visit the Australian Macadamia Society Website: www.macsoc.com.au
Nuts with style
To assist consumers and processors, nuts are graded and marketed in nine styles from fine granules to premium whole nuts. Industry specification standards ensure consistency of size and quality.
The variety of styles available suit different applications in snacks, confectionery, catering, baking and home use. In addition, macadamias nuts are sold by the primary processor as raw, roasted, salted or flavoured.
pluses in value adding
In recent years many new and exciting products have been developed. Cold-pressed macadamia oil is not only revered as a salad and cooking oil, other applications have found a growing market in therapeutic oils and cosmetics as it is one of the known ‘vanishing oils’ which penetrate the skin.
There is a huge export potential for antipodean manufacturers of macadamia based foods and therapeutic goods; being the ‘Australian nut’ delivers them a competitive advantage over other producing countries.
Given the recent phenominal success of macadamias, the future may be one of supply keeping pace with demand.