Food safety: Answering the call for transparency

Today’s consumer has an insatiable appetite for the stories behind the products they buy. They’re demanding transparency from manufacturers, in order to make informed buying decisions and gain peace-of-mind that what they are eating and using is safe. This desire for knowledge has been fuelled by several high-profile incidents, the most recent being the contamination of frozen berries imported into Australia from China and in Taiwan, concerns about food products imported from nuclear-affected regions of Japan, with falsified statement of origin claims on pack.

For producers, manufacturers and distributors, this call for transparency presents a fabulous opportunity – particularly for food producers in Australia where our industry is underpinned by a strong, non-corruptible legislative framework and a culture of compliance with strict local and international standards.

A recent Datamonitor survey revealed that 61% of consumers said that knowing about the ingredients used in grocery products they buy has become more important to them in recent years. If your product is grown or manufactured ethically, sustainably, safely, organically or all of the above, this research suggests that a significant proportion of your target market wants to know.

Embracing the call for transparency and demonstrating your commitment to superior ingredients and processes could gain your brand market share, with research showing that consumer preference increases by 12% for a product that is traceable. An open and positive ingredient story could factor in whether it’s your brand that graces consumers’ shopping trolleys, or that of your competitor.

Quality from seedling to serving

Australia’s macadamia industry has always taken the issue of food safety seriously and our members understand that in today’s global market, it’s a key interest for both manufacturers and consumers.

There is a steadfast commitment to product quality at every point of our supply chain and our members invest millions of dollars annually in ongoing improvements. The Australian macadamia industry was the first in the world to develop a set of rigorous and binding quality standards to ensure premium quality from seedling to serving. No other macadamia producer has ever been able to match this benchmark.

We are the global leader in implementing quality systems at every stage of the production process and this has enabled our producers to supply some of the most sophisticated and demanding customers in the world. These customers know that when they source macadamia nuts from Australia, the product they order is the product they will receive.

A record as pristine as our product

Since 1999 the Australian macadamia industry has participated in the National Residue Survey (NRS) conducted by the Australian Government to measure chemical residues and environmental contaminants in Australian food products.

Our industry has achieved 100% compliance with Australian Standards every year since 2000 – a record unmatched by any other Australian fresh product. In 2014, the NRS report said of the Australian macadamia industry, “This outstanding record continues to demonstrate that Australian macadamia producers use in-crop and post-harvest agricultural chemicals according to good agricultural practice. These results assure customers of the excellent residue and contaminant status of Australian macadamia nuts.”

Australia’s recipe for success

The Australian macadamia industry’s premium quality product and first-class reputation can be attributed to the sum of many parts.

SOPHISTICATED PRODUCTION PROCESSES: As the world’s largest producer and processor of macadamia kernel, our knowledge of growing and processing macadamias is second to none. All Australian macadamia processors have purpose-built facilities to preserve the nut throughout the production process. Much of the processing technology has been developed locally and our industry adopts new technology early, resulting in continual improvement. Two industry initiatives, the Approved Supplier Program and FreshCare accreditation, ensure the traceability of our product.

KNOWLEDGE: Australian macadamia farmers and processors have accumulated years, and in some cases generations of knowledge about quality at the farm and the factory. Furthermore, our local industry has invested $20M in R&D over the past 10 years.

RELIABILITY: All Australian processors comply with the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) procedures, take a zero tolerance approach to food safety issues and are highly experienced in shipping to stringent standards globally.

SUSTAINABILITY: Our macadamia growers are committed to world’s best farming practices to create a sustainable future not only for themselves but the environment and communities in which they operate.

BIOLOGICAL CONTROL: Australia leads the way in on-farm biological control, using natural methods to manage pests and diseases that affect macadamia plantations.

CLEAN AND GREEN: Australia’s reputation as a clean and green environment has helped to support our position as the world’s safest source of macadamia nuts.

Keeping the dialogue open

The Australian macadamia industry is well placed to meet the increased safety concerns and scrutiny of both food manufacturers and consumers.

If you would like any further information or wish to discuss how Australian macadamias can be incorporated in your product development strategy, please feel free to contact lynne.ziehlke@macadamias.org

You can also read more about the Australian macadamia industry’s approach to food safety here or any of our suppliers here.

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