2023 has been another strong year for new products containing macadamias, as manufacturers across markets and categories embrace the multi-layered benefits that Australia’s native nut can deliver as an ingredient.
Earlier this year a host of new macadamia innovation territories were revealed as part of the Australian macadamia industry’s research into emerging food and beverage trends, and interestingly many of the products we’ve discovered are aligning with these territories.
Let’s take a look at some of the most exciting product innovations of the of the year, through the lens of the 5 powerful innovation territories for manufacturers using macadamias.
Innovation territory #1: MAC-POWERED HEALTH
Consumers globally are actively seeking ways to maximise their food’s health credentials, and the healthy fats, antioxidants and nutrients of macadamias make them an ideal addition to a range of food and beverage products. This territory emerged from the key trend of ‘Multi-dimensional health’ which predicts that the search for functional benefits in food will reach new heights, with mainstream adoption of foods offering hyper-specific benefits such as adaptogens and nootropics.
This snack bar is said to feel indulgent but with all the benefits of a powerhouse snack. The product’s creator says adaptogens “have been shown to combat fatigue, enhance mental performance, and ease depression and anxiety” and describes the product’s ingredients as “the perfect combination to help you thrive mentally and physically.”
Plant-based chocolate brand Loving Earth has created a superfood chocolate range for consumers seeking to treat themselves while consuming ingredients that offer functional benefits. The chocolate contains chewy dried blueberries and Incan superfood Lucuma, both known for their skin-loving antioxidants, as well as Australian macadamias which add crunch and are “a source of nourishing good fats to reduce skin inflammation, and support skin barrier function.”
Described as “your ultimate solution for achieving unparalleled focus and prolonged productivity”, this granola blend has been crafted using brain and body boosting natural ingredients “meticulously selected to optimise performance” including Lion’s Mane, Panax Ginseng, matcha green tea, caffeine and macadamias.
Innovation territory #2: SAVOURY SWAPS
This territory harnesses the true versatility of macadamias through inspired upgrades to savoury snacks and products. While consumers are familiar with different ways that macadamias can feature in sweet products, savoury products remain an untapped opportunity that can open up a series of new innovation spaces.
JOSUN HOTEL GORGONZOLA PIZZA (SOUTH KOREA)
This discovery demonstrates a truly innovative use of macadamias in a category we’ve not seen them before. Made with the know-how of a hotel chef, this pre-packed microwaveable pizza is a convenient meal option featuring dough made from Italian flour and fermented at a low temperature topped with rich Gorgonzola cheese, sweet and sour toffee apple and finished with macadamias for added textural interest.
It was exciting to see macadamias included in a collaboration between South Korean retailer GS Retail and one of the world’s leading entertainment brands Netflix. The partnership saw the release of exclusive co-branded products for South Korean consumers to enjoy while watching their favourite Netflix content. The ‘Netflix Macadamia Cheese Mix Nut’ combines herb-salted macadamias with cheese pretzels, salted almonds, basil pesto crescents and dried cheddar cheese, with the blend created to represent the “high quality and diverse enjoyment of Netflix content.”
This range of seasoned macadamia crumb blends is an incredible showcase of the versatility of macadamias to pair with a host of flavours such as lemon myrtle, salted caramel, coconut and native finger lime. Available in 5 variants, the products consists of finely chopped macadamias blended with a host of other delicious flavours to produce a crumb that can be used to coat fish or meat, enjoyed like a dukkah, or used as a salad topper or dip garnish. It’s worth noting they’re also a great addition to desserts. A fantastic example of how smaller styles of macadamia kernel can be used to create an innovative and premium product.
SAM’S CLUB CRAB ROE FLAVOURED MACADAMIAS (CHINA)
Sam’s Club operates 34 stores in major cities in China and had previously launched wasabi-flavoured macadamia nuts which proved popular with its customers. This year they built on that success with the launch of crab roe flavoured macadamia nuts, blending the fresh saltiness of crab roe with the crunchiness of macadamias. An excellent demonstration of the continued development of the kernel market and flavour innovation in China.
Innovation territory #3: LOCAL INFUSIONS
Consumers are rediscovering their local and traditional cuisine, but with an openness to modern tweaks that can elevate and excite. The versatility and unique texture of macadamias can add a new dimension to well-known classics and locally loved foods.
Iconic Australian cereal and snack brand Uncle Tobys has leveraged two of Queensland’s most famous ingredients – the mango and the macadamia to create a new rolled oats blend. Packaged in individual recyclable sachets, it can be used to make a nourishing porridge or bircher muesli ‘mixed with a delicious blend of mango pieces from sun-drenched Queensland and nutty macadamias.’
Established in 1877, Yuzhen Zhai is a famous Taiwanese bakery that has become synonymous with delicious pastries and cakes. To meet the demands of today’s consumers, they also produce traditional snacks with a contemporary twist. This traditional style of Taiwanese candy typically features other nuts, but macadamias make this modern version extra special, thanks to the luxurious buttery crunch they add to the confectionery.
TOUS LES JOURS MOONCAKES (SOUTH KOREA / VIETNAM)
Mooncakes are the traditional gift of Chuseok, the Vietnamese version of the Mid-Autumn Festival, and this year South Korean bakery Tous Les Jours included macadamias in its mooncake line-up for the Vietnamese market. Known for its use of unique ingredients, this year the brand created some novel mooncake flavours including Hong Kong Scallop, Tirasmisu and Green Bean & Macadamia.
Red bean paste manju buns are a traditional Japanese treat. This version created by popular Japanese bakery brand Ryugetsu is filled with Tokachi red bean paste, while its exterior has a covering of roasted macadamia pieces that deliver extra crunch and flavour to the confection.
Innovation territory #4: INDULGENT ESCAPE
Against a backdrop of macro-economic pressures and tensions, consumers are seeking ways to distract from the negativity and indulge their senses in moments of joy. The deliciously creamy taste of macadamias provides the perfect platform to amplify desserts and sweet treats and create mini moments of escape.
7-ELEVEN CRUNCHY MACADAMIA CHOCOLATE BAR ICE CREAM (JAPAN)
This delicious ice cream indulgence was produced by major Japanese manufacturer Lotte for 7-Eleven and takes the irresistible combination of macadamia and ice cream to new heights. A generous serving of macadamia pieces in the chocolate coating delivers a moreish crunch with every bite, but what really sets this product apart is that the ice cream itself is made using macadamia paste for added flavour, creaminess and luxury.
Paris Baguette is a South Korean multi-national chain of bakery-cafes, and its parent company SPC Group recently opened a concept store at Incheon International Airport offering premium limited edition products for travellers. The Paris Baguette Anyeong Sandcookie (as opposed to ‘sandwich’) was created as a meeting of East and West and features a blend of caramel with a rich-flavoured butter, perilla seeds and luxuriously crunchy macadamia pieces sandwiched between two cookies. The cookie exterior is adorned with a design inspired by traditional Korean patterns, conveying the message ‘Hello’ to add value as a gift.
SWEET CAFÉ COFFEE JELLO WITH MACADAMIAS (JAPAN)
Available in Japanese convenience stores and supermarkets, this snack introduces the ultimate texture clash with a smooth, coffee flavoured jelly set with small, crunchy fragments of macadamia kernel throughout it. Eye-catching single-serve packaging completes this uniquely indulgent pick-me-up snack.
National Japanese coffee chain Saint Marc teamed up with Hawaiian Host macadamias to create a macadamia version of its popular chocolate croissant. Chocolate and macadamias were included in the pastry dough and the innovative creation was finished with a topping of chopped macadamias. A great example of macadamias adding value in the bakery category.
In April Japanese chocolate giant Meiji launched a limited edition product featuring roasted macadamias generously coated in a roasted hojicha tea flavoured milk chocolate. Available in packs of 9 pieces, the combination of the fragrant tea and the milkiness of the chocolate is said to match perfectly with the unique flavour and crunch of the roasted macadamia nuts.
Innovation territory #5: LIQUID GOLD
The high concentration of heart healthy fats in macadamias allows them to function particularly well in a liquid form, adding depth and richness, but also creating a natural plant base for a range of dairy-free products.
Yonsei Dairy is a popular household brand in South Korea, and produces a range of dairy milk, soy milk and juice products, including a delicious chocolate macadamia milk. Made using Australian macadamia paste and blended with dairy milk and chocolate flavouring, this year the product’s formulation was upgraded with double the amount of macadamia paste in what has proven to be a popular move with consumers.
SUPIN FOOD MACADAMIA MULTI-PURPOSE POWDER (CHINA)
This multi-purpose macadamia nut powder can be used to create milk-based beverages such as coffee and milk tea. Delivering a sweet, nutty flavour, it was launched in response to the growing popularity of milk tea in the Chinese market, especially among younger consumers.
SEVEN & I PREMIUM FIVE NUT DRESSING (JAPAN)
Featuring five different nut varieties including macadamias, this creamy Japanese dressing is described as having a deliciously rich umami flavour that is an ideal complement for green salads or prawns.
Other notable mentions
While not aligning with a particular innovation territory, these products are still excellent demonstrations of what’s possible with macadamias.
This range includes a host of skincare products but it’s the Super Nut Nourishing Balm that caught our attention thanks to its similarity to the name and appearance of the iconic Vaseline Petroleum Jelly pots, and the use of macadamia oil as an ingredient. As a 100% natural formulation, this balm is suitable for use on the entire body, making it a versatile choice for both children and adults.
Innovative and sustainable hair care brand Hair Kitchen extracts nutrients and antioxidants for healthy hair from natural sources. This revolutionary water-free oil-based finishing mist features macadamia oil to help protect the hair from damage while imparting a natural shine, smoothing frizz and leaving hair radiant and silky.
While macadamias aren’t new to snack products, they’re usually mixed with other nut varieties. Pure macadamia snack products are rarer, and where Nutty By Nature changes the game is by featuring smaller bite-sized macadamia halves, rather than large halves or whole kernel. The range comprises four popular flavour variants – Roast Salt, Salted Chilli, Rosemary & Sea Salt, and Roasted Garlic with every macadamia chip coated in delicious natural flavour.
Got a product we should know about?
If you’re launching a product with macadamias in 2024, we’d love to know about it. Get in touch with Australian Macadamias Market Development Manager Jacqui Price.