It’s no secret that Chinese consumers enjoy a wide variety of nuts, as an everyday staple, in manufactured food products and as celebratory gifts.
What has become apparent recently is the extent to which macadamias are being embraced in this market, with more Chinese consumers nominating macadamias as their most frequently consumed nut than any other market surveyed in our international consumer insights research*.
Macadamias in China: the current state of play
The last 12 months have delivered a host of highlights and insights in China:
- Imports of Australian in-shell macadamias to China grew notably in 2021, up 13% on the year prior (MAT January to December)
- Imports of Australian macadamia kernel to China also performed strongly over this period, up 21%
- Australia continued to be the major supplier to China with 82% of kernel imports
- Awareness of macadamias in China is well developed at 76%
- Chinese consumers strongly associate macadamias with numerous sought-after attributes, such as digestion, plant-based protein, kids’ brain development and sustainable energy to fuel work and study
- Macadamias own the narrative around digestion and heart health in China; they’re seen to deliver on fibre content to promote digestion and gut health, and healthy fats for heart health
- Provenance holds great relevance among Chinese consumers with 89% attaching importance to macadamia origin and 52% ranking Australia as one of their top 3 origins
It’s against this backdrop that new macadamia marketing initiatives by the World Macadamia Organisation (WMO) and Australian Macadamias launched in China recently, deepening consumers’ knowledge of the macadamia story.
WMO launches new connection-focused video campaign
Established in 2021 as an independent not-for-profit organisation to promote macadamias globally, last month the WMO launched its first-ever marketing campaign. Targeting mainland China with the initial activity timed for Chinese New Year, it focused on in-shell macadamia consumption and creating associations and rituals in family moments.
Called ‘Open Together’ the campaign’s centrepiece is a social video that depicts a disconnected family coming together to enjoy the ritual of cracking and eating macadamias. It celebrates the sensory experience of cracking a macadamia and how this draws people together, from the satisfying crack of the shell breaking to the soft crunch and buttery mouthfeel that are the hallmarks of the macadamia’s ‘eat journey’.
WMO CEO Jillian Laing says the decision to launch the organisation’s first campaign in China is reflective of the growth seen in this market.
“China is an important market for macadamias,” she said. “Its share of global macadamia consumption was just 5% in 2015 but by 2019 it had climbed to 25%. China has led the wave of innovation and adoption of nut-in-shell consumption, where consumers use a special cracking key to consume directly out of the shell.”
Ms Laing says the creative execution leverages insights from in-depth research carried out with Chinese consumers.
“A key finding was that for Chinese people, food consumption is holistic and highly nuanced. It incorporates preparing or opening the food, its aroma and mouthfeel, chewing, digesting and after-taste. Macadamias are a good fit for Chinese food culture, as they offer a full eating experience that encompasses choosing, opening, eating and enjoying the nut.”
The campaign also taps into the everyday reality of its ‘super-mum’ target market. “These women lead extremely busy lives, and the super-mum often feels guilty that she doesn’t have more time to spend with her children. She longs for and treasures moments of connection,” explains Ms Laing.
“This content showcases the power of in-shell macadamia consumption to bring a family together and provide a moment of shared connection. It’s warm and uplifting and we hope it will build an emotional connection with our Chinese audience and make macadamias a symbol of high-quality time spent together.”
The campaign will also focus on extending macadamia usage beyond the current concentration at Chinese New Year to other festivals as well. “We want to encourage the ritualisation of special family moments around key festivals involving macadamias” explains Ms Laing.
The campaign, which will run on Weibo, WeChat, TikTok and Little Red Book, will be supported by influencer marketing, and a host of online and offline activity throughout the year.
Chinese fans celebrate with interactive ‘seed to snack’ game
The Australian Macadamias brand has a long history of ‘education through entertainment’ when it comes to sharing the macadamia story with a global audience, and this has again proven successful with the launch of our ‘seed to snack’ interactive online game over the Christmas period.
Hosted on our WeChat and Weibo channels, fans were invited to navigate all six levels of the game for the chance to win a Macadamia Mystery Box containing a collection of macadamia merchandise including an iconic Husque macadamia bowl, hat, mask, coffee cup, cushion and water bottle holder.
The animated game depicts a macadamia orchard in which players ‘harvest’ and drop macadamias on top of one another as they move through the game’s levels. The macadamias drop first as green nuts in their husks, which they progressively shed, becoming a de-husked in-shell macadamia, then a cracked macadamia and finally the kernel on its own. This showed the progression from ‘seed to snack’, demonstrating how a macadamia looks when it’s fresh from the tree through to the final product ready to eat.
The activity was supported by influencers who promoted the game and posted unboxing videos on their own social media channels, where they revealed the prizes in the Macadamia Mystery Box.
Macadamia Mystery Boxes were also on offer to celebrate New Year’s Eve and Chinese New Year, again in conjunction with influencer marketing campaigns. New Year’s Eve saw Australian Macadamias fans engaging with macadamia health content created by a nutrition influencer for the chance to win one of the prizes. For Chinese New Year, the focus shifted to taste, with six macadamia dishes promoted, each with a connection to good luck for The Year of the Tiger. A popular food influencer created videos demonstrating how to make the dishes, with consumers also invited to try the recipes at home and upload a photo of their dish to Weibo for a chance to win a prize box.
Wishing everyone a safe, happy and prosperous Year of the Tiger!