While falling prices and over-supply are concerning, the World Macadamia Organisation (WMO) assured growers across the globe that macadamias still have a lot to offer with the right industry support.
WMO chief executive Jillian Laing emphasised the importance of learning from other industries and exploring new opportunities and markets. Despite the challenges, she is optimistic about the work being done by her organisation to ensure the continued growth and consumption of macadamias.
The WMO, formed less than two years ago, has made significant progress in understanding the market context, consumer preferences, and the needs of manufacturers and businesses, said Laing.
She highlighted the fragmented nature of macadamia supply origins across different countries as a reason why the WMO plays a vital role in pooling funding and efforts to collectively develop the market.
“The industry is tracking to its forecasted doubling in supply from 2020 to 2025, and resulting price shifts have been long anticipated; this comes together with some other headwinds like recessionary times,” Laing explained.
“Support from key industry players means the WMO has been able to commission research, garner invaluable insights, and create strong demand generation campaigns that are winning consumer consumption and increasing business buy-in.”
New opportunities beckon
Despite the short-term instability resulting from the doubling of macadamia supply, Laing pointed out that the industry is well positioned to take advantage of new opportunities. She drew parallels with the avocado industry, which faced similar challenges in the past but successfully capitalised on increased volumes.
“Look to our nearby friends, the avocado industry, which was not in a dissimilar position too long ago to know that we are well poised to take up the new opportunities bigger volumes of macadamias present. One might see avocados as a parallel product in many ways: of the few that are unique, taste great, and are also good for you,” said Laing.
To promote the consumption of macadamias, she outlined three key strategies: encouraging people to eat larger quantities, reaching more consumers, and increasing the frequency of consumption. She emphasised the health benefits of macadamias, which are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, low in carbohydrates, and plant-based.
New global campaign
The WMO has furthermore invested in robust research to support these claims and align macadamias with global food trends rooted in scientific advancements. They are actively campaigning to both consumer and business audiences, with a focus on the US, China, and Indian markets.
For consumers, localised versions of the “Love Macadamia” campaign have been launched, tailoring messages to specific geographic audience insights.
In the ingredients sector, there are also exciting developments, as manufacturers are increasingly open to new product development due to the growing availability of macadamias.
The WMO aims to facilitate business partnerships by creating standards, such as the WMO Macadamia Product Standard, that enable interchangeability between different suppliers. Laing acknowledged that macadamias still represent a small percentage of tree nuts, but she sees this as an opportunity for growth. Many regions, like India, are yet to discover macadamias, and their natural and healthy qualities make them a premium product.
Bravery and perseverance needed
Laing urged macadamia farmers to stay committed to producing high-quality products aligned with global trends. She acknowledged the challenges but reminded them that many sectors have overcome similar obstacles, and new ways of working often emerge. With bravery and perseverance, the macadamia industry can thrive and continue to flourish in the future.
“But it is going to take some strategic forethought to steer and rebuild our reputation as a serious player that has supply volume to back the claim,” Laing cautioned. “Put simply, there are three ways to grow the consumption of macadamias: getting people to eat more of them at a time, getting more people to eat them, and getting people to eat them more often.”
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