Expanding horizons: Australian macadamias start making their mark in India

It’s been a vibrant and exciting quarter for Australian Macadamias in India with a host of important events and collaborations taking place as the implementation of our entry strategy into this potential-laden market kicks off.

After extensive scoping and research, India was identified as the next high-potential market for Australian macadamias, due to its status as the world’s fastest growing economy, the rapid digitisation of its vast population, its consumers’ knowledge and love of nuts and positive perceptions of Australia, and the Australia-India Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) that entered into force in late 2022.

Leveraging these favourable conditions relies on educating Indian trade, consumers, chefs and media about the multi-layered story of Australian grown macadamias, and this sizeable task has now commenced, with the launch of the inaugural Australian Macadamia Festival in Mumbai, an exciting collaboration with a premium Indian chocolate brand, and a successful trade forum attended by key Indian food manufacturers.

Australian Macadamia Festival hits all the right notes

The first-ever Australian Macadamia Festival opened in Mumbai on 30 September, signalling two weeks of macadamia events in India’s largest city. Supported by the Queensland Government through its Food and Fibre to Market: Industry Partnerships program, the festival was a culinary celebration that immersed Indian media, chefs, food bloggers and social media influencers, as well as trade and supply chain partners, in the Australian origin, taste and versatility of macadamias. While the event itself was centred in Mumbai, it attracted national attention thanks to media coverage generated by the launch. 

Australian Macadamias CEO Clare Hamilton-Bate, Market Development Manager Jacqui Price and Austrade’s John Southwell at the Festival launch event in Mumbai

Restaurant partnerships were a key feature of the festival’s program and were a highly effective means of showcasing the versatility of macadamias as an ingredient. The culinary team in each restaurant curated their own macadamia-inspired menus resulting in an array of macadamia dishes and gastronomic experiences for event guests.

The official launch took place at top Mumbai restaurant The Lovefools and was attended by a host of VIPs from India’s retail sector and media as well as chefs, government, bloggers and influencers. Guests were welcomed by Australian Macadamias CEO Clare Hamilton-Bate before enjoying a 16-course degustation designed by Executive Chef Sarita Pereira, with a selection of the dishes featuring Australian macadamias. 

We also partnered with other popular restaurants and patisseries across Mumbai including Bizza, Binge, Trident and Olive Bar and Kitchen, with menu highlights including Goat Cheese and Fig Tartine with Toasted Spiced Australian Macadamias, Pumpkin Ravioli with Macadamia Nut Pesto, and a macadamia liqueur cocktail.

Social media content from partner venues helped to promote the Festival. Images via Instagram @olivemumbai and @bingemumbai

Binge restaurant hosted a Macadamia Masterclass attended by food bloggers and influencers, with their chef demonstrating how to make Roasted Macadamia Mushroom Tart and Bell Pepper Pasta with Macadamia Purée.

The festival was complemented by a series of digital campaigns designed to build awareness about Australian grown macadamias among consumers and promote the event itself, with the partner venues sharing social media content highlighting their menus .

Macadamias represent Australia in collaboration with premium Indian chocolate brand Fabelle

The winning combination of macadamias and chocolate was on show at the recent launch of Fabelle One Earth Collection, a new signature chocolate offering. Created by Indian luxury brand Fabelle Exquisite Chocolates by ITC Foods Limited, in collaboration with MasterChef Australia judge Andy Allen, the new collection is a fusion of global flavours and cultures, featuring Australian grown macadamias.

L to R: Australian Macadamias Market Development Manager Jacqui Price with Andy Allen, the Fabelle One Earth collection, cricket legends Dinesh Karthik, Lisa Sthalekar and Waqar Younis at the launch

Inspired by the sentiment of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’ – The World Is One Family – the meticulously handcrafted One Earth collection consists of 10 unique truffles, each representing the rich and diverse flavours of nations from across the world – Australia, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, New Zealand, The Netherlands, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

Fabelle Master Chocolatiers worked closely with Andy to select a hero ingredient from each destination, with the macadamia chosen to represent Australia.

Andy was at the ITC Sheraton New Delhi for the launch, alongside cricket legends Lisa Sthalekar, Dinesh Karthik and Waqar Younis at this celebration of craftsmanship, innovation and world-class ingredients. It’s hoped this will be the first of many collaborations with Fabelle.

Trade forum introduces Australian macadamias to India’s food manufacturing sector

Our time in India was rounded out by hosting an Australian Macadamias trade forum. Focused on food and ingredient innovation opportunities with macadamias, it was attended by representatives from 35 different Indian food manufacturers covering multiple product categories including chocolate and pastry.

The event was a vital opportunity to tell the story of Australian macadamias to this important audience, and we presented an overview of the industry, explained why macadamias grown in Australia are the world’s best and provided examples of products that could be created using macadamias to showcase the breadth of ingredient opportunities available.

One of the biggest challenges in India is a lack of awareness of macadamias. However research shows that those Indian consumers who do know about macadamias perceive them very positively. Our presentation discussed the marketing plans we have in place to increase awareness and drive trial and purchase, by providing inspiration to consumers, partnering with premium restaurants, product sampling in premium retailers, building knowledge among the trade, and collaborating with premium brands, with the Fabelle launch providing an excellent example.

The localised Australian Macadamias website is introducing Indian consumers to our macadamia recipe collection

The forum also highlighted the variety of applications to which macadamias are suited, including snacking (raw, roasted and salted, flavoured, mixed nut products) ingredient (in bakery, confectionery, ice cream, cereals, bars, dips, spreads etc) and processed (oil, butter, paste, milk, flour). The premium position macadamias occupy in the market means they can elevate a product or brand they’re included in, while their versatility aligns them seamlessly with many food trends. The nutritional benefits of macadamias speak to current  health trends, while their gift-worthiness make them ideal for new product development centred around Indian festivals.

It’s extremely gratifying to see our plans come to life in this new market. We look forward to sharing more highlights as activity continues to unfold.

Research conducted into the Indian market on behalf of the Australia macadamia industry, our industry’s involvement in the Fabelle collaboration and the Australia Macadamias trade forum in Mumbai were all part of the Nut Export Expansion Program facilitated by the Australian Nut Industry Council (ANIC) and  funded under Agriculture Trade and Market Access Cooperation program (ATMAC), by the Commonwealth of Australia represented by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).

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