World Macadamia Organisation flags alt-dairy as key category for booming “luxury” nut
21 Sep 2021 --- The World Macadamia Organisation (WMO) has officially launched in Singapore to drive greater consumer demand for macadamia nuts. The independent, not-for-profit will work to retain macadamias’ premium positioning worldwide as supply proliferates.
In particular, WMO sees vast opportunities for macadamias in the dairy alternative category due to the whole food’s natural buttery taste and indulgent texture.
“Macadamias are a sought-after nut. Their ‘soft crunch’ means that they are often a consumer favorite,” Jillian Laing, founding CEO of the World Macadamia Organisation, tells FoodIngredientsFirst.
Macadamia’s nutritional profile can also help consumers meet certain dietary requirements with whole foods.
“They are very high in ‘good fats’ – monounsaturated fats, including omega 3, 6 and 7,” affirms Laing.
These health and texture credentials put macadamias at the intersection of health and luxury, notes the WMO.
Supply to boom
Laing points out that today macadamias are rare, making up less than 2% of tree nuts globally.
However, this is expected to change, based on the number of macadamia trees currently planted worldwide, which take five to seven years to produce commercial crops.
“Industry is aware that there will be a significant increase in supply,” she says. “We expect supply to double in four to five years and triple in eight to ten years.”
This is why WMO’s interim chair Larry McHugh asserts: “there has never been a more critical time than now for the global macadamia industry to come together to share knowledge, ideas and inspiration.”
The WMO will help to solidify the long-term foundation for a strong, sustainable market through increased awareness of the ingredient. The organization will also facilitate health research, collect industry insights and create alignment in global product standards.
One of the key areas that WMO will focus on first is strengthening macadamias’ position in the rapidly developing plant-based industry.
“Macadamias are increasingly core ingredients for creating dairy alternatives for consumers choosing a plant-based or flexitarian diet,” says Laing.
She notes that macadamias can be found in a range of new launches globally, including in milks, creamers, spreads, ice creams, smoothie mixes, nutritional powders and cheese.
“The mild ‘buttery’ taste, soft texture and fat profile help deliver satisfying products to these discerning consumers.”
Tapping into key markets
WMO has identified worldwide potential, with particular opportunities in the Indian and Chinese markets.
“In India, there is significant nut consumption. However, macadamias have very limited availability – and there is opportunity to develop a new market there,” says Laing.
Meanwhile, in China, growth opportunities lie in increasing the frequency of consumption to enforce category loyalty, underscores Laing.
“The development in both of these markets will be at a category level and will benefit all of our members.”
She notes that in most countries, awareness and trial are lower compared to other tree nuts. The exception to this is Australia, where per capita consumption is 135 g, compared to other countries where the amount consumed annually is below 50 g.
An initiative from the Southern Hemisphere
It is no surprise then that Australia, along with South Africa, has led the establishment phase of the WMO. The initiative is now looking forward to welcoming other member countries to the organization.
Board elections will be held in the coming months and six directors will be elected at this time.
Member nations are eligible to have representatives on the Members’ Council, which will meet at least twice a year.
The first virtual meeting will be in October, and the first physical meeting is planned to align with INC World Nut and Dried Fruit Congress in Dubai in May 2022.
To date, seven of the world’s largest macadamia-producing nations have confirmed their membership, including Australia, Guatemala, Hawaii, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa and Vietnam.
By Missy Green
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