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The global demand for macadamias has outstripped the supply and good returns for macadamia nuts are providing the impetus for global growth for this product. As macadamias are making inroads into traditional sugar production areas in South Africa, a similar trend is happening in East Africa and Australia. China’s macadamia nut production is also rapidly expanding. According to a 2020 article on the Pacific Nut Producer website, reports show that the planted area in China is projected to reach 300,000 hectares by 2030.

Although macadamias currently represent less than 2% of the global nut basket, the exponential supply increase that is forecasted for the next five years could result in supply exceeding demand in the short term, which has the potential to cause a price disruption. In 2020, global macadamia production was at 240 000 tonnes (Nut in Shell) and by 2025, this is expected to double to around 480 000 tonnes. By 2030, productions are expected to exceed 600 000 tonnes.

In response to this challenge, the World Macadamia Organisation (WMO) was established in 2021 by representatives from South Africa, Australia, Kenya, Hawaii (USA), Guatamala and Vietnam.

The World Macadamia Organisation was incorporated in Singapore, chosen for its neutrality as a non-producing country. Jillian Laing is the CEO of the World Macadamia Organisation and explains that it is the organisation’s challenge to ensure that there is a healthy demand for this increased supply of the product and that the industry can retain its current premium position within global markets. She added that the organization is prioritizing the health benefits of this plant-based superfood, and that they are aiming to increase the frequency of consumption of macadamias, particularly on the Chinese and Indian markets.

Macadamias have gained a reputation as a leader in the nut division, not simply for the good returns that they achieve in global markets, but for their buttery, rich flavour. The growing consumer preference for plant-based proteins has assisted in the market position for macadamias. Macadamia products such as macadamia nut milk, butter, and cheese also cater for people who are lactose-intolerant and the current growth in meat and dairy alternative market has created a host of opportunities for macadamias.

As productions of this delicious and highly nutritious “super food” nut increase both in South Africa and internationally, we can expect to see more macadamias and macadamia products in food outlets globally.

Article by Louise Brodie

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