The taste and versatility of Aussie macadamias were on display earlier this month at the Sample Food Festival, the Northern Rivers’ largest food event. As the first weekend of the Australian spring dawned, around 17,000 people flocked to the Bangalow Showground to experience a taste of the best food and wine from northern New South Wales, while enjoying live entertainment and cooking demonstrations.
As part of our commitment to supporting food events in each of the major Australian macadamia growing regions, Australian Macadamias was a proud sponsor of the event for the fifth consecutive year. Our sponsorship was leveraged extensively on social media, reaching almost 100,000 people and exceeding our KPI by 24%.
A festival of benefits
Participating in events such as Sample fulfils a host of objectives for Australian Macadamias:
- Showcases the versatility of macadamias across our domestic social media channels
- Inspires others to talk about macadamias and ‘Macadamia Country’ on social media
- Drives pride for our native nut in local communities
- Creates engaging social media content that can be used throughout the year
- Develops and nurtures relationships with chefs and foodies both online and in person
Putting macadamias on centre stage
Now in its sixth year, the festival has grown to become a much-loved local community event.
This year we supplied 38kg of fresh Aussie macadamias that were used in six cooking demonstrations and a mystery box challenge on the centre stage, two dishes at the Friday formal lunch held the day before the festival, and seven restaurant tasting plates.
Highlights included charcoal chicken with roasted macadamia and aniseed myrtle satay from Hungry Like The Wolf, chocolate fudge brownie macadamia ice cream from Knox and Aya, goat korma with macadamias from 100 Mile Table and Chocolate meringue with macadamia cream and Davidson plum from Town Restaurant and Café.
Guests at the Friday formal lunch were treated to an incredible starter of kelp cured albacore tuna, sea blight pandana ferment emulsion and macadamia nut ogo nori prepared by Seaweed Cuisine.
This year we staged our own cooking demonstration, led by guest chef Kate Walsh. Kate showed the crowd how to make macadamia milk and macadamia chocolate spread and was joined on-stage by Alli Page, one of the region’s macadamia growers.
Social media leverage
By sharing highlights of the event on our social media channels, we showed Australian fans the innovative ways chefs and producers are using macadamias. Our Twitter and Instagram channels were used to share live content, while pre and post event updates were shared on Facebook.
Our content focused on specific dishes that used macadamias, stallholders with macadamias in their products and cooking demonstrations in which macadamias, macadamia oil or any other macadamia products featured.
Instagram was the standout channel, achieving reach of more than 58,000 over a total of 71 posts. While 20 of those posts were created by Australian Macadamias, the remainder were from 19 other contributors, demonstrating the excellent online engagement we were able to generate through the event.
Central to the success achieved on Instagram was the #AusMacadamias Instameet that we hosted for the first time this year, where we invited local Instagrammers to join us to meet other Instagrammers and guest chefs in person. All attendees were gifted with a macadamia goodie bag.
We also launched an Instagram photo competition that encouraged people to post their best macadamia-inspired photo from the event using the hashtag #AusMacadamias for the chance to win a macadamia gift hamper. The competition drove a significant increase in Instagram activity, with 20 contributors using the hashtag. By comparison, we were the only contributor using the hashtag at last year’s event, so this increased engagement was a great achievement.
Twitter performed strongly again this year, achieving reach of more than 36,000. This was a solid result given that the event did not live Tweet, and celebrity guest chefs played less of a role than in previous years.
Facebook was used to promote the Instameet prior to the event. This was followed by a video from the Friday lunch, and at the conclusion of the event, an album of highlight images was posted, proving to be the most popular Sample-related content on this channel. Facebook reach was almost 4,900.
In addition to driving Instagram activity, our Instameet generated some fantastic coverage in local media and blogs, including The Northern Star, The Daily Examiner, Tweed Daily News and Get Forked and Fly.
Thank you to all the chefs, restaurants, producers, Instagrammers and local community members who supported the Australian Macadamias activity at this year’s festival!
Sample Food Festival sponsorship for 2016: results at a glance
Total social media reach: 99,171 (24% above KPI)
Festival attendees: 17,000
Instagram reach: 58,239
Twitter reach: 36,036
Facebook reach: 4,896
Kilograms of macadamias supplied: 38
Cooking stage events using macadamias: 6
Tasting plates using macadamias: 7
Instagram posts: 71 (20 from Australian Macadamias, 51 from other contributors)
No. contributors using #AusMacadamias hashtag: 20
Media articles: 5