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.