Macadamias flip the script on fat as consumers seek out satiety and heart-healthy ingredients

As a delicious source of plant-based protein, macadamias tick a lot of boxes when it comes to how modern consumers want to eat. But research has revealed that what has traditionally been one of macadamias’ biggest barriers to consumption may in fact be one of their greatest strengths, presenting an opportunity for brands to rethink how macadamias stack up when it comes to health.

A female hiker takes a macadamia from a jar

Research carried out by the Australian macadamia industry with more than 6,000 consumers globally has revealed that consumers expect a wide range of benefits from food and ingredients, spanning both emotional and functional needs. Key findings revealed that more than 70% of consumers are seeking food and ingredients that deliver healthy fats to support heart health and 60% are seeking healthy fats for satiety.

These insights show how far the consumer mindset has evolved when it comes to the role of good fats in their diets. It wasn’t that long ago that consumers were advised to avoid fat at all costs, but it’s now known that healthy fats offer up some very compelling health benefits. This research revealed how clearly consumers understand this and it’s become something they actively seek out when making food purchase decisions.

Close up of a person taking a single macadamia from a tin of macadamia nuts

According to Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nuts for Life Program Manager Belinda Neville, macadamias contain a unique blend of healthy fats, fibre, plant sterols, antioxidants and a range of micro-nutrients that promote gut, heart and brain health. This complex variety of nutrients and bioactive components work together to protect our bodies against disease.

“Macadamias have the highest ‘good’ monounsaturated fat content of all tree nuts. These fats are beneficial for heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease. In fact, more than 80% of the total fat in macadamia nuts is the heart-healthy monounsaturated type,” she says.

According to Ms Neville, the benefits extend beyond heart health. “Their fat, protein and fibre content makes macadamias highly satiating, while the fat helps the body to absorb fat-soluble nutrients like Vitamin E. It’s also what gives them their unique mouthfeel and flavour, and makes them a good carrier of other flavours, both savoury and sweet.”

A tray containing fresh tomatoes, a bowl of pesto, a jar of macadamias and diced tomators and macadamia pesto on baguette slices

Our industry’s research findings revealed that many people already recognise the link between macadamias and their healthy fat benefits. 62% of consumers globally associate macadamias with feeling fuller for longer and 59% see macadamias as helping to promote heart health and reduce heart disease risk thanks to their high healthy fat content.

Uptake of macadamias as an ingredient has been strong across several categories including ice cream, chocolate confectionery, bakery and non-dairy milks. But with consumers embracing their health and wellbeing more than ever, and so many recognising the health benefits of macadamias, there is still untapped potential. As an industry, we are excited to see which brands will push the envelope in terms of what’s possible with macadamias to meet rising consumer demand for health-enhancing, satisfying and great-tasting products.

Research tells us every time a consumer enjoys a macadamia, they’re doing something positive for their body, mind, and mood. If you’re ready to take a closer look at the essential daily nutrients delivered by Australian grown macadamias and how to leverage these benefits in your product development plans, talk to an Australian macadamia supplier about how we can help.

About the Australian Macadamias research
In late 2020, Australian Macadamias commissioned research based on 6014 individual surveys with consumers in Australia, China, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan and the USA. Conducted by the Singapore regional office of independent research agency Kantar, the research was conducted between August and October 2020 and findings delivered in December 2020.

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