Nut marketers keen on China

Can demand maintain pace with increased plantings?

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In spite of the Chinese market attraction, macadamia nut growers are not hugely exposed to current political tensions threatening to disrupt trade.

In spite of the Chinese market attraction, macadamia nut growers are not hugely exposed to current political tensions threatening to disrupt trade.

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more macadamia nuts might be a good thing say marketers

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Australian macadamia production will double by 2025 to 400,000 tonnes a year and will repeat that feat five years later to sit at 600,000 tonnes by 2030, based on trees now in the ground with more being planted.

"Normally such an increase in supply would seem scary (from a marketing point of view) and while we are alert we are not alarmed," says Australian Macadamia Association CEO Jolyon Burnett.

In fact macadamias account for only 1pc of the world trade in tree nuts which is growing at a rate of 7pc a year. A production increase here and abroad will serve to propel the once boutique industry into a commodity that can be relied upon by the food ingredients sector.

Almonds are an interesting comparison with 1.3 billion tonnes produced around the world, 65 per cent of which are used as ingredients and the rest as snack. The situation with macadamias is reversed, with just 30pc used in products like muesli bars and dairy substitutes. This sector has room for growth.

Of the remaining 70pc, China takes 30pc - including nut in shell. Mr Burnett says the China market has been very rewarding and sales are just scratching the surface.

As such there remains much communication and goodwill between partners. Mr Burnett has sent a presentation to be viewed during next week's Chinese National Tree Nut conference being held in Nanning.

In spite of the Chinese market attraction, Mr Burnett says growers are not hugely exposed to current political tensions threatening to disrupt trade.

"We've always maintained a diverse portfolio," he says.

"We sell to 40 countries including the US, Japan, Korea and Germany."

While Southern and Eastern Europe are not big consumers they might be one day while India, with its vegetarian diet, is another enormous market in its infancy.

Certainly Australians love their native nut, consuming more per head of population than anyone in the world at 34g or ten times as much as the Americans.

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