Crunch the Numbers for New Macadamia Opportunities

Falling prices and over-supply has been topic of discussion, but it is not all doom and gloom, says Jillian Laing, CEO of, the World Macadamia Organisation (WMO).

Here are some good reasons to remember why macadamias are a great product, with the right industry support will emerge triumphant. Keep the faith farmers! We have a lot to learn from other industries and many new opportunities and markets to explore.

It may seem easier said than done. Let’s be honest, macadamia farmers are facing more challenges than ever, but Jillian Laing shares some heartening information about the important work the WMO* is doing to ensure macadamias not only remain on the map but that there is growth in how they are eaten. Across the globe farmers have spent billions of dollars on new orchard development and planting and only a fraction on market development, this is why what the WMO does is so important.

Formed less than two years ago, to drive awareness and consumption of macadamias, it has made some interesting headway in understanding our current market context, what consumers around the world want, what manufacturers and businesses need from us, and what we can learn from the likes of the avocado industry for example. Because macadamia supply origins are fragmented over many producing countries across the globe (unlike almonds and walnuts for example), the WMO pools funding and efforts and is a necessary unifying body that helps market development collectively.

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. 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.

The almost decade long supply-constrained macadamia market conundrum is being resolved, and that is thanks to our farmers! This has brought some short-term instability but certainly changes the game for the long term. Look to our nearby friends (as Jillian is), 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.

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. 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.
•    Getting people to eat them more often.

We know macadamias are special, and healthy in so many ways and the WMO has set in motion robust research to underpin this. The findings look great. Really. What we are learning and are being able to evidence against current health and vitality thinking plays directly into current global food trends. Trends that are strongly rooted in science and scientific advances around health speak to savvy and well-informed consumers. People, and businesses that manufacture food items for them are looking for food that is:

•    Filled with high levels of “good” monounsaturated fats (like omega 7 and 9), polyunsaturated fats, especially omega 3, and a favourable ratio of omega 6 to omega 3.
•    Lower in carbohydrates (does not spike blood sugar levels)
•    Is plant-based and more sustainable for the planet.
•    Is a “permissible” “clean label” treat.

Macadamias have them all. WMO has devoted time and commissioned experts to understand this in more detail so that macadamias can stand tall amongst other nut counterparts. Some of them include heart health, improved cognitive function, gut health, and reduce inflammation (eat some more, my friends!). For more information: WMO Resources.

Campaigning efforts are directed both to consumer and business audiences, with a focus on the US, China, and Indian markets. For consumers, WMO has launched localised versions of the “Love Macadamia” campaign that speaks to specific geographic audience insights for example in China where the focus is on “ritualising” consumption. Historically Chinese eat macadamias nut-in-shell at Chinese New Year, and the WMO campaign focuses and extending this ritual to other festivals and holidays too. Results look promising so far.

The ingredients (B2B) sector is much talked about and there are exciting developments in this space. WMO is committed to taking customer perspective into regard, and the key barrier to entry in the past was the lack of sufficient supply and availability for manufacturers to take the industry seriously. Exponential growth in volumes has changed this conversation significantly as manufacturers are increasingly open to new product development.  The organisation is working to drive awareness and making it easier for companies to do business with macadamias. For example, they have created the WMO Macadamia Product Standard which creates a standard across countries, including for sizing, which means that customers can interchange between different suppliers and deliver the same manufactured product.

Macadamias still only represent 1.4% of tree nuts, so even with so much new supply, they are still special. There are lots of places that don’t know about them (like India for example) and they are natural and healthy product that is also premium. Keep making great quality products that are aligned to global trends and will be sought after over time, says Jillian. Know what, she makes a good point! It may not be easy right now, but many sectors have gone through this and often new ways of working emerge. Be brave and keep pruning!

*The World Macadamia Organisation (WMO) is an impartial and independent body funded by key industry players around the globe commissioned to bring together an industry view and ultimately create new market opportunities that increase macadamia consumption around the world.