Cruise down the spreads aisle of your local supermarket and you'll likely notice one thing: it just got really interesting. This is a category in the grip of an innovation explosion, a million miles from the four-way choice of Vegemite (for Australians), jam, peanut butter or honey that so many of us grew up with.
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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.
Our recent research study examining the potential for Australian macadamias in China revealed a host of exciting opportunities for our industry, with huge scope to demonstrate new uses and consumption occasions and to introduce messaging around origin, quality, versatility, taste, health and nutrition.
In late 2014 we were excited to share the findings of a new research study into the way consumers in Germany think about macadamias. It was both fascinating and encouraging, revealing that German consumers love macadamias and consider them to be the most versatile, premium and indulgent of all nuts.
From cows to camels, coconuts to quinoa, there are more types of milk commercially available worldwide than ever before. Dairy, non-dairy, plant-based, grain-based; whichever way you look at it, the milk category has exploded with new product development in recent years.
In 2014 we shared key insights from our landmark Australian Consumer Profiles research. This study enabled us to take a look inside the minds of Australian macadamia consumers and painted a vivid picture of how they perceive their native nut and what drives their consumption patterns. This knowledge has highlighted fertile territory for new product development and marketing and provided hard evidence that macadamias are perceived as a premium product, with applications that reach beyond basic snacking into myriad product categories.
The Australian Macadamia Society (AMS), the peak industry body for the Australian macadamia industry, has welcomed a new free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea that will see the tariff on macadamia exports reduced from 30 per cent to just 18 per cent by 1 January 2015 and tariff-free by January 2018.
The Australian macadamia industry is set to reap the benefits of the unfortunate Korean Airlines nut saga, with the resulting increased demand for Australian macadamias great news for our 650 growers.
We are proud to announce that Australian macadamia producers have achieved 100% compliance in the 2013-14 National Residue Survey (NRS), making it 14 years in a row.
The Australian Macadamia Society has announced a final crop of 43,600 tonnes in-shell for 2014, an increase of 24% (8400 tonnes) on last year's crop.
China's growing appetite for Aussie macadamias is about to get bigger, following today's historic Australia-China free trade agreement which will remove the 24% tariff on macadamia imports from Australia within five years.