In the aftermath of their attendance of the eighth International Macadamia Symposium in October, hosted in China this year, South African processing company Green Farms Nut Company, together with its strategic marketing business, Green & Gold Macadamias, garnered valuable insights into the macadamia industry.
“China’s forecasted potential impact on the global macadamia supply base is significant. Collaboration and mentorship from established growing regions is imperative to ensure consumer, and business expectations (including quality and safety requirements) are met by the currently fledgling Chinese market. As a leading macadamia marketing business, we foresee continued growth and rapid innovation in how macadamias are consumed around the world,” says Brian Loader, CEO, Green & Gold Macadamias.
Remarkable growth predicted
Currently China’s production represents around 8% (18,000 mt tonnes) of global crop (213,000 mt tonnes). Based on the country’s mid tier internal projections, they estimate remarkable growth to producing 450,000 mt tonnes in 2025, seven years from now, which incidentally is the average number of years it takes a macadamia tree to bear its first crop, indicative of the sheer scale of tree plantings in China.
The last seven years (2011-2018) has seen 60% rise in global macadamia supply from 125,000 mt tonnes to 200,000 mt tonnes. The next seven years (2018-2025), if China meets its proposed growth, is set to change the nature of the industry with a projected growth of 300% in supply to an estimated 800,000 mt tonnes from the current 200,000 mt tonnes.
“Market diversification and access remains critical against growing demand. Alongside population growth, healthy, ethical and plant-based eating trends are growing around the world. Currently macadamias represent 1.5% of global nut production, this presents enormous scope for expansion. The industry needs to harness this opportunity by bringing to life the unique properties and benefits of macadamias,” continued Loader.
Green & Gold Macadamias sources macadamias from key growing regions around the world. The organisation has a dedicated team in China that works closely with relevant stakeholders domestically and abroad to cultivate the future success of China’s production and consumption markets.
Demand from ingredients sector increasing
Predominantly, macadamias are consumed in kernel form as a snack, and specifically in China, in-shell. Appetite from the ingredients sector is expanding rapidly across the board, from bakeries, milks, powders, flours, and cheeses, amongst others. Examples of pioneering products in development include macadamia miso caramel cookies and macadamia “mind food” bars.
“Scores of research consistently underpins that macadamias are perceived as luxurious, healthy and a guilt-free indulgence. They elevate experiences, products and brands, affording a premium price point. The ingredients sector calls for specific grading, dicing and styles, dependant on their product. For this reason, investment at a processing level is paramount to ensuring the industry can support this requirement. Relying purely on macadamias as a snack is a bygone strategy,” says Bobby Tan, Asia market manager, Green & Gold Macadamias.
With full Chinese government support, this industry also represents a route to poverty relief. The thinking is to create sustainable and secure opportunities to make a living into the future. This is
supported by the formation of the National Key Laboratory for Nut Detection body to support – alongside quality requirements – production, processing capacity and product development.