Over the past two years, the Australian macadamia industry has taken deep dives into numerous product categories to uncover fresh consumer insights and better understand the most potent opportunities for new product development.
Covering the bakery, snacking, ice cream and chocolate confectionery categories, these bespoke studies generated an extensive suite of findings that are highly relevant to manufacturers and product developers seeking to create food and beverage products for today’s consumer.
While each category revealed its own unique insights, a set of recurring themes emerged as well – findings that kept appearing regardless of the category we were studying. Here we recap these ‘innovation superpowers’ of macadamias and what they mean for product innovation.
Macadamias give consumers permission to indulge and reconcile competing desires
Wrestling with competing desires is a common struggle for consumers when faced with a food or beverage purchase. One that often occurs is the desire to make a healthy decision versus the urge to treat oneself and indulge a little.
The findings from our bakery, ice cream and chocolate studies revealed the presence of macadamias in a product can automatically resolve this tension in the minds of consumers, effectively paving the way for a more effortless purchase decision.
They do this by virtue of the fact that consumers regard macadamias as both the ‘luxury nut’ and the ‘better-for-you nut.’ The health halo they can bring to a product removes the guilt barrier that may otherwise prevent a consumer from making the purchase, while their status as a sophisticated ingredient answers the need for indulgence – more so than other ingredients.
In the snacking category, consumers feel the burden of balancing a series of opposing needs. They desire satiety, without being weighed down. They want high nutritional quality as well as great taste, and they’re looking for small portions that deliver a big payoff. Macadamias in a snack can resolve all these tensions. They satisfy hunger, without being heavy, they’re nutrient dense but don’t compromise on taste, and even a small quantity of macadamias can deliver a significant payoff in terms of taste and indulgence.
Macadamias elevate any product they’re added to
Previous consumer research first introduced this superpower several years back, and our category-specific studies emphatically reinforced the notion.
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.
In the ice cream category, the presence of macadamias can halo the whole ice cream product, signalling better-for-you indulgence, luxury, specialness, and authenticity. Consumers are eager to see macadamias leveraging the unique ice cream and macadamia marriage more.
Nuts and chocolate have an established relationship, with consumers globally familiar with chocolate products containing peanuts and hazelnuts in particular. However the research found that while these are popular pairings, they have also become commonplace and routine. When added to a chocolate confectionery product, macadamias can build on the trusted chocolate-nut relationship, but also add excitement, intrigue, and a more indulgent experience.
Macadamias remove any sense of compromise
Consumers feel many snack products force them to compromise on experience or taste. As one research participant remarked, “I can’t believe that most of the so-called healthy snacks still taste like cardboard.”
The research revealed the presence of macadamias in a snack product can eliminate any sense of compromise while their distinctive and indulgent qualities deliver particularly well to powerful emotional snacking needs, such as reward, excitement and mood boost.
In the chocolate confectionery category, consumers are seeking more permissible ways of enjoying chocolate to mitigate the guilt and remorse it can sometimes trigger. However they have no desire to compromise on the integral experience of chocolate. For manufacturers innovating in the permissibility space, the addition of macadamias to a healthier expression of chocolate can help ensure consumers don’t feel they’re compromising.
There’s more to come
We have more research planned for the coming two years, so stay tuned for more insights and opportunities.
Further details are available on all our research to date. We also have a suite of innovative product concepts from the Macadamia Innovation Challenges that could represent an opportunity for your brand or business. Simply contact your Australian macadamia supplier or General Manager Marketing Lynne Ziehlke to learn more.