New research shows macadamias bust through bakery purchase barriers

A new consumer research study commissioned by the Australian macadamia industry has just been completed, with the findings revealing a host of fascinating insights that highlight key innovation hotspots for macadamias in the bakery category in both Asian and Western markets.

This research is the first in a series of category-specific studies that will be undertaken over a two-year period, and follows on from our 2017 study of global macro macadamia trends, that revealed the most prominent overarching global trends occurring in food and beverage consumption right now. 

If you would like further information on any of these insights, please feel free to contact your supplier, or Australian Macadamias Market Development Manager Lynne Ziehlke.  

Why do consumers turn to bakery products? 

Globally, there are eight primary reasons consumers will seek out bakery products, with CONTROL and BALANCE being particularly prevalent in Asian markets. 

  • PLEASURE: indulgence and escape from the everyday 
  • ADVENTURE: sensorial stimulation and the exploration of new flavours 
  • DISCERNMENT: superior quality experience and sophisticated decision-making 
  • JOY: injecting fun and creating moments of joy 
  • CONNECTION: facilitating relationships and bonding with friends and family over food 
  • COMFORT: emotional pick-me-up 
  • CONTROL: watching calorie intake, making healthier choices and being disciplined 
  • BALANCE: fulfilling nutritional and energy needs

There is a strong preference for sweet bakery products in Western markets, with consumers driven to the category by emotional needs such as escapism, nostalgia, indulgence and comfort.

Asian consumers gravitate far more towards savoury bakery products, and this is the flavour profile that dominates the category in many Asian markets. Savoury breads are a breakfast staple, and concerns over weight management underpin a very functional relationship with the category. Sweet bakery products are reserved for celebrations, occasional indulgence and socialising. 

Macadamias: bridging elevation and permissibility 

Previous research has told us that macadamias have the ability to automatically make other food products more premium in the eyes of consumers. This latest research emphatically reinforced this notion, finding that when macadamias are added to any bakery product, they elevate the eating experience, making the product luxurious, unique, healthy, balanced and desirable. In Asian markets particularly, they also add connotations of purity and authenticity, both highly desired by Asian consumers.

The research revealed macadamias break down the barriers to purchase that exist in consumers’ minds when considering a bakery product purchase and reduce the conflict both Asian and Western consumers typically feel when purchasing from the category.

The research examined how macadamias break down the four key barriers to purchase in the bakery category: 

• GUILT: often perceived as an unhealthy indulgence, bakery products are seen as permissible when macadamias are present as they’re seen as a healthy addition 

• COST: macadamias are seen as a luxury ingredient that justify a higher price point and grant permission to splurge 

• BOREDOM & PREDICTABILITY: some staple bakery products are losing excitement and appeal, but macadamias can add textural interest and a point of difference 

• QUALITY CONCERNS: macadamias visually signify an authentic, wholesome and natural product and instil trust in the eyes of consumers. 

Bakery innovation insight: In both Asian and Western markets, macadamias can help bakery products compete in the premium space, create a heightened sensorial experience, and reduce the guilt often associated with bakery products. As both the ‘luxury nut’ and the ‘better-for-you’ nut, macadamias uniquely address the desire for both elevation and permissibility by simultaneously creating a driver and addressing the barriers to purchase.  

Macadamia innovation opportunities for the bakery category

The research uncovered a series of ‘innovation hotspots’ for the use of macadamias in bakery products that tap into the desires of consumers in both Asian and Western markets. 


Consumers, motivated by discernment, are seeking the back-to-basics appeal of hand-crafted items based on tradition, passion and provenance.  

What macadamias bring to this space: 

• Natural abundance and health associations:macadamias can strengthen quality and natural credentials of handcrafted and artisanal bakery 

• Authenticity: macadamias are raw and rustic, texturally and aesthetically, enhancing the small batch associations of these products and adding trust  

• Premium-ness and exclusivity:the most naturally premium and exclusive nut that offers a rich and intensely indulgent experience and justifies a price premium  

How this could look: 

Asian markets: macadamia and cheese bread, macadamia and quinoa bread

Western markets: macadamia crusted breads, macadamia raisin toast, macadamia apple pies 


Driven by the desire for pleasure, bakery products can be the ultimate treat that offers escape through indulgence. Asian and Western consumers want exclusively decadent bakery products that enable momentary suspension of reality and create “me moments” that are worthwhile. 

What macadamias bring to this space: 

• Exclusivity: as a rarer and unique ingredient, they deliver unexpected luxury

• Complexity: a unique eating journey and unusual texture, heightening the sensorial experience

• Indulgence: their buttery richness heightens the indulgent experience

• Desirability: they signify a product is worth the calories and expense, reducing guilt

How this could look: 

Asian markets: macadamia custard fillings, macadamia crusts/shells, macadamia and cream cakes

Western markets: macadamia croissants, macadamia crunch topping on decadent slices and cakes


Motivated by the desire for joy, comfort and adventure, consumers want to see deeply comforting old favourites reinvented with new ingredient combinations. 

What macadamias bring to this space: 

• Uniqueness: macadamias add a unique, yet reassuring twist to everyday products

• Intrigue: their indulgent, buttery and unusual texture creates novelty and a sense of exploration and play in everyday bakery products

• Premium-ness: macadamias instantly upgrade and transform other foods, adding premium appeal

How this could look: 

• Asian markets: pineapple cake with macadamia pieces, cheese bread with macadamia pieces, red bean and macadamia buns

• Western markets: vanilla or caramel slice with macadamias, macadamia scrolls, chocolate macadamia muffins


Motivated by the desire for control and balance, consumers want to enjoy the good stuff with nutritious, yet tasty, ingredients. They’re on the lookout for cues that signal a bakery treat is healthy enough to justify the indulgence. 

What macadamias bring to this space: 

• Permissibility: a guilt free treat delivering both richness and indulgence, but also seen as inherently healthy, so it can halo as a more permissible item

• Taste reassurance: often consumers are concerned that ‘better for you’ will equate to a compromise on taste. Seeing macadamias in a product reassures the consumer that it will taste good.

 Justification: of the higher price point often associated with ‘healthier’ choices, through the inclusion of a quality, luxury ingredient

How this could look: 

• Asian markets: pineapple and macadamia cakes, macadamia and grain breads, macadamia doughnuts

• Western markets: macadamia muesli slice, superfood macadamia balls, raw macadamia slice

#5: AUSTRALIAN PROVENANCE (for Asian markets only):

Asian consumers are seeking bakery products enhanced with fresh, quality Australian ingredients, free from any nasties. Driven by the desire for control and balance, Asian consumers trust food from safe, pure, untainted origins like Australia. 

What macadamias bring to this space: 

• Purity, safety and trust: Australian macadamias are viewed as clean, pure, contaminant-free

• Justification: for price premium because they’re grown to a premium standard

How this could look: 

• Asian markets: Australian macadamia breads and cakes featuring macadamias in their whole/raw format, with provenance clearly stated on pack

Exciting new bakery product concepts now available

The recent world-first Macadamia Innovation Challenge saw competitors from all over Australia submit a diverse range of unique and innovative concepts for new packaged food products containing macadamias – several of which were for the Bakery category. Many of the fantastic concepts developed for the Challenge are now available for adoption by interested food manufacturers and product developers globally. For further details please contact Market Development Manager Lynne Ziehlke.  

The insights referred to in this story are from the research project, Bakery Category and Macadamias: Western and Asian Consumer Insights conducted by independent research agency GALKAL, 2018. 

Did you like this article?

Subscribe to the macadamia review to get more news like this delivered straight to your inbox.


and be the first to know about the latest news from the Australian macadamia industry.