Macadamias take centre stage in ingredient sector innovation globally

Nuts

At this year’s annual International Nut Council (INC) conference discussion around expanding growth of macadamia supply into the global market was more prominent than ever before. The INC conference is the world’s largest gathering of players in the nut industry and this year took place 21 – 23 May in Seville, Spain. Each year Green & Gold Nuts (G&G) attends the event. As a leading macadamia marketer and exporter, understanding the needs of their customers (and ultimately consumers) around the globe remains top of their agenda. The INC conference presents an unparalleled platform for them to do so.

“The continued growth of the consumer trend (and understanding of the health and environmental benefits) in consumption of plant based proteins has once more been emphasised,” commented G&G CEO, Brian Loader, “we’ve observed this topic hotly debated at most other food and ingredients events we attend around the world”.

According to statistics portal, Statistica, on average around 10% of both the U.S. and Europe’s population are vegetarian and or vegan. This is significantly higher amongst younger generations demonstrating the growing trend. Some publications go as far as to sight a global vegetarian population by 2050. The estimated $750 million – $800 million macadamia industry seems perfectly poised to answer this. High in protein, rich in healthy fats and fibres, this luxury product has traditionally been consumed predominantly as a snack. Not because it isn’t ideal as an ingredient. But because the industry has been too small to serve the large scale needs of food manufacturers. However the horizon looks to change, significantly.

Macadamia tree plantings have risen exponentially over the years, and so has subsequently the crop and available supply. One of G&G’s processing partners, Green Farms Nut Company, based in South Africa has been heralded as building the world’s largest processing factory in 2017. Creating infrastructure to support bigger crop volumes.

“Our customers, dominant players in the food industry, are crying out to use macadamias as an ingredient. However, it is up to the industry to make the opportunity tangible through investing in innovation to deliver the macadamia value proposition. Relative to other nuts, the macadamia industry is small, and collaboration in challenging convention around how nuts can be used as an ingredient is more important than ever. A key strategic focus for us is how to leverage this through new product development,” said Loader. “Fitting an annual crop (and all it’s variables) into a long term marketing plan is a challenge. However with increased plantings we take comfort in predictability of supply to cultivate the ingredient sector market. We need to transform with these changes to remain relevant.”

Nuts are now considered a core part of a healthy diet. Their elongated product life cycle makes them well suited as an ingredient in other foods. More commoditised nuts like almonds and walnuts are widely used as an ingredient and answer a volume proposition. Because of this, macadamias need to carve their proposition around their entirely unique taste and texture (a buttery crunch) unmet by other nuts.

“Were excited for the future for our business and the macadamia nut industry at large. The INC has been instrumental in the improved understanding of nuts and their benefits. This goes hand in hand with their professionalism and tireless campaigning. The body has raised awareness through continued research and legislative efforts. We should, together, take a leaf out of their book as testament to what industry collaboration can achieve. South Africa’s recent increase in industry body marketing levies is worth noting in support of this notion”, concluded Loade