GFNC said to guarantee macadamia food safety with Napasol pasteurisation technology

South Africa-based Green Farms Nut Company (GFNC) has announced its investment into foremost Napasol pasteurisation technology, to meet and surpass current and future food safety requirements in key export destinations around the world. This decision underscores the organisations ongoing commitment to deliver best in class quality product to its customers, as well as secure value for their supply base of producers and farmers.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), globalisation, urbanisation and changing consumer habits has resulted in a longer and increasingly complex global food supply chain. These challenges put greater responsibility on food producers and handlers to ensure food safety. The WHO urges building and maintaining focus on adequate food systems and infrastructures, like laboratories and legal frameworks, as well as multi-sectoral collaboration between governments and stakeholders through the value chain.

“GFNC is extremely pleased to be in the position to proactively take responsibility for our role in the ongoing and inevitable changes taking place in the food industry at large, and macadamia sector more specifically. This decision is a crucial part of our strategy to continue growing and refining processing capability. In so doing retain value add capacity and supply chain accountability at source in South Africa,” said Allen Duncan, CEO, GFNC.

Approximately 25 per cent of South Africa’s macadamias are processed by GFNC. Together with its processing partner network, spanning Australia, Brazil, Malawi and Kenya, the groups marketing business, Green & Gold Macadamias sells roughly 20% of the world’s crop in key territories around the globe. This purchase represents the initial move to making further investment into technology that warrants compliance with increasing microbiological safety standards and global access to highly regulated markets.

The Napasol process ensures 100 per cent of the treated product is pasteurised to a >5log level of reduction of pathogens and is regarded as the market leader in pasteurization equipment for tree nuts. Efficient microbiological reduction is obtained with dry saturated steam, which is natural, effective, and maintains the raw characteristics of the nut. The batch process, which is validated for >5log reduction in pathogens for all tree nuts, meets the risk assessment reduction levels published. The process also preserves the flavour, colour and texture of the raw kernel.

“This outlay will sustain bullish market access for the business, provide the best quality product to our customers, and provide the opportunity to achieve the best possible prices for our farmers. Together with buffering our producers from potential knock-on effects of macadamias that do not meet food safety legislation,” said Jill Whyte, chairperson and owner, GFNC.

The Napasol is planned for installation at the White River factory in the second half of 2020 and should be operational for the remaining 2020 processing cycle. GFNC will have capacity to assist competitor processors with their pasteurisation needs until the decision is taken to invest in their own technology to support market and customer requirements.

Macadamias aim to disrupt chocolate category

Australian Macadamias has today released findings from independent research agency, GalKal, revealing macadamias are an underutilised ingredient in the traditional chocolate and nuts pairing. As consumers constantly crave new and creative confectionery, macadamias can bring excitement and interest to commonplace product formulations.

While chocolate and nuts are an established pairing, the space is dominated by nut varieties such as peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Over 13,000 chocolate products were launched globally in the past year; more than 1,400 (11 per cent) featured hazelnuts and a further 485 (4 per cent) featured peanuts, while only 75 (0.5 per cent) products launched featured macadamias.

Be it to unwind, de-stress, uplift or re-energise, consumers around the world crave chocolate confectionery to bring a sense of indulgence and escape from the everyday. There is a global demand for new flavour and texture combinations that inject luxury and surprise into the everyday chocolate experience.

READ MORE: The macadamia challenge returns

Lynne Ziehlke, general manager, marketing for the Australian macadamia industry said, “While consumers are very familiar and comfortable with the idea of nuts in chocolate, the current pairings have become quite commonplace and expected.

“The research showed that macadamias are the ideal ingredient to disrupt the tried and trusted nut-chocolate relationship and help create more exciting, novel and unique expressions of chocolate.”

The findings also brought to light the notion of ‘permissible indulgence,’ meaning consumers seek out chocolate that justifies the indulgence they crave either because it is perceived to be high-end or contains ingredients that are healthy. However, consumers do not want to compromise by settling for products that don’t deliver on the inherent pleasure of eating chocolate.

Ziehlke adds, “We continue to see the concept of ‘health as the new form of wealth’ dominating the consumer landscape. Macadamias are recognised as a guilt-free ingredient due to their nutritional value but at the same time are recognised as a premium product that will add luxury and deliver an indulgent eating experience.”

“The distinct, rich and creamy taste and texture of macadamias means they are the ideal ingredient to inspire chocolate innovation and bring excitement to a category in need of disruption. Macadamias also have a unique ability to balance out very sweet or very savoury flavours and create a harmonious overall taste profile. This opens up a wide range of opportunities for new product formulations.”

Interviews were conducted with influencers in Germany, China and the US, followed by an online community with prosumers in Germany and the US and focus groups in China

Macadamia innovation challenge opens up opportunities in Australia

A macadamia innovation challenge aims to help the macadamia industry in Australia grow.

The Australian Macadamia Innovation Challenge is running for the second year in a bid to get food manufacturers thinking about why macadamia nuts are needed in their products.

About 30 per cent of Australia’s crop is consumed domestically, the balance is exported, the Australian Macadamia Industry indicates.

It states that Australia has the highest per capita consumption of macadamias in the world.

READ: Macadamias take centre stage in ingredient sector innovation globally

Despite the lengthy production timeframe, taking 10 years for a farm to get up and running, investment from current growers and new entrants is significant.

The Australian industry is in a transitional period moving from niche to larger industry and one that is leading the world in terms of investment in marketing and innovation.

While less than 2 per cent of tree nut production globally is macadamias the Australian industry aims to outperforms in the way macadamias are marketed.

After a successful launch in 2017, the Australian Macadamia Industry has introduced the innovation challenge for a second year.

The program is aimed at generating new packaged food concepts that can inspire the food industry globally and drive new demand for macadamias around the world.

It will expand on this with an increased pool of cash and travel prizes and extension of the campaign to invite participation by entrants from China and Japan, alongside Australia.

Competitors are invited to submit creative concepts for new packaged food products using macadamias.

The program will explore four product categories – confectionery, snacks, cereals and future foods – with competitors required to submit ideas with either an Asian or Western flavour profile.

The 10 shortlisted finalist entries will be invited to pitch their ideas to a judging panel of industry experts and leading food innovators at a finals event and they will attend the awards ceremony in Byron Bay where four major prizes will be awarded including two trips to Fi Europe 2019 and a $5,000 cash grant.

Entries close December 3, 2018.


Macadamia industry research finds consumers snack to manage mood

The Australian Macadamia industry has discovered that consumers are increasingly snacking as a way to manage their mood.

Participants in the research emphasised the importance of food manufacturers using clean and high quality ingredients in their snacks, which maximise nutritional benefits, and support improved moods and wellness.

Australian Macadamia Society market development manager Lynne Ziehlke said in recent years, the snacking category has been redefined with various trends that set the context for product innovation.

“One trend has remained consistent when it comes to snacking: most consumers want a snack that provides enough energy to sustain them and their frame of mind through their day,” said Ziehlke.

In August, the global macadamia industry launched a research project aimed at providing strong evidence to support the role of macadamias in a healthy diet.

Key macadamia-producing countries Australia, South Africa, Kenya, Brazil and Malawi have made a substantial financial investment into the research, and the project has been supported by the International Nut & Dried Fruit Council and INC World Forum.

The global macadamia health research project will be a large scale, long term randomised parallel intervention study delivered by researcher Professor Joan Sabate from Loma Linda University Medical Centre.

It is the first of its kind in the macadamia industry, and the first time that multiple origins have contributed to such a project.

It is considered critical to the industry’s ability to continue to market macadamias as a premium product.

Ziehlke said there is considerable research that shows eating tree nuts regularly can protect against coronary heart disease, decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes and help with weight management, as well as more than 200 research papers on the nutritional benefits of almonds and walnuts.

“Macadamias, like other tree nuts, have a potential cardio-protective role to play in a healthy, balanced diet and are a significant source of nutrients,” she said.

“To date, the macadamia industry has not undertaken any clinical research of this magnitude, so today’s announcement represents a significant milestone.

“As well as providing strong evidence to support the role of macadamias in a healthy diet, the research is expected to provide many new opportunities for the product and drive further new investment in research,” said Ziehlke.

The Southern African Macadamia Growers’ Association’s Barry Christie said that consumers are increasingly aware of the healthiness of nuts, which has helped to drive tree nut consumption by more than 75 per cent over the last ten years.

“We anticipate the outcomes of this research will help the global macadamia industry to capitalise even further on this trend, by guiding the development of more powerful messaging about the health benefits of macadamias to consumers, health professionals and regulators,” said Christie.

“It’s a very exciting development for our global industry, and we are delighted to be working together on a project that will benefit all macadamia producing regions,” he said.

The study will compare the effect of a diet enriched in macadamias versus a control diet on insulin resistance and insulin secretion in individuals with insulin resistance.

It will assess the effect of macadamia nut consumption on lipid profile (total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDH cholesterol and triglycerides) and other emergent risk factors of cardiovascular disease as well as on central obesity and body composition.