Hort Innovation is responsible for investing the macadamia marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consumption, under the Hort Innovation Macadamia Fund. These activities are managed by our partner team at the Australian Macadamia Society, who have provided this quick summary of trade and consumer marketing highlights from 2018/19.
TRADE CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS
2018/19 marked the second year of the industry’s three-year international marketing strategy. The campaign was focused on activities that form the strategy’s centrepiece, known as the ‘Innovation Initiative’. Significant new global investment in macadamia growing will see more robust supply become available in coming years and this supply shift will create new opportunities for commercial product development. The Innovation Initiative is working to support food manufacturers who are eager to incorporate macadamias in their new product development plans.
‘Macadamia Marketing Toolkit’ refresh
Launched in 2017, the Marketing Toolkit has been helping the commercial sector convey a compelling story about macadamias and illustrate the many benefits to food manufacturers of including macadamias in their innovation pipelines. A host of new assets were added to the kit in 2018/19, including two new rounds of consumer insight research focused on the snacking and ice-cream categories in Asian and Western markets, new consumer promotion highlights, and consumer insights and technical specifications for the top product concepts from the first ‘Innovation Challenge’ competition.
The consumer snacking research
In new consumer research, mood management was found to be an emerging motivation for snacking and fertile ground for new product development. The work revealed macadamias’ distinctive and indulgent qualities deliver particularly well to the concepts of ‘reward’, ‘excitement’ and ‘mood boost’.
The research identified seven key product innovation opportunities for macadamias in the snacking category:
- Fuel the day: Consumers want nutritious snacks that help them power on, without feeling weighed down. Macadamias bring nutrient density, taste and texture.
- Relaxation: Consumers look for rewarding and enjoyable snacks that won’t induce guilt afterwards. Macadamias make indulgent snacks more permissible and create a sense of ‘doing something good’ while snacking.
- Social status: Many consumers gravitate to products that reflect a cleaner and more sustainable way of eating. Macadamias bring status, sophistication and price justification.
- Adventure: Snacks can bring excitement and discovery to the everyday. Macadamias’ versatile taste make them an excellent flavour carrier and a safe and luxurious way of introducing new tastes to market.
- Healthy and tasty: Consumers want to make better choices but not by compromising on taste. Macadamias bring both health and taste.
- Meal replacement: Snacks offer an effective way of staying full without compromising a healthy diet. Macadamias offer satiety without over-eating.
- Sharing: Snacks are seen as a ‘social glue’ that make a moment more connected.
Macadamias are seen as premium and novel, making a snacking product more premium and luxurious.
The ice-cream consumer research
New research also revealed a unique alignment between macadamias and ice-cream, with consumers recognising a natural fit between the two. Macadamias complement the characteristics of ice- cream in a way that no other ingredient can, and consumers want to see manufacturers leveraging the macadamia/ ice-cream alignment more often.
Six key product innovation opportunities for macadamias in the ice-cream category emerged:
- Ultimate decadence: Consumers are seeking more elevated experiences of luxury. Macadamias can bring luxury, exclusivity and decadence.
- Artisanal gourmet: The concepts of locality, tradition and handmade reinforce ice-cream as special. Macadamias can bring authenticity, flavour and premium cues.
- Pure and simple: Consumers value the simplicity of good-quality ice-cream. Macadamias can bring interest, refinement and authenticity.
- Ingenious creations: Consumers are seeking more foodie-like combinations to indulge the senses. Macadamias can bring interest, versatility and luxury.
- Better-for-you ice-cream: Consumers desire healthier ways of enjoying treats. Macadamias can add a ‘health halo’.
- Delightfully dairy free: Texturally, macadamias are more aligned to ice-cream than other nut-based dairy alternatives. This could be captured through macadamia milk and paste.
Details of these opportunities are available to the industry’s commercial sector via the Macadamia Marketing Toolkit, to provide snack product developers with evidence of the benefits that macadamias can bring to the category.
Macadamia Innovation Challenge
After a successful launch in 2017, the Macadamia Innovation Challenge was brought back for a second year in August 2018, increasing the scale of the program to invite participation from China and Japan as well as Australia. The world-first platform is aimed at generating new packaged food concepts that can inspire the food industry globally and drive new demand for macadamias around the world.
The Challenge invited professionals and students from the food technology field to submit creative concepts for new packaged food products using macadamias in the confectionery, snack, cereal and future foods categories with an Asian or Western flavour profile.
The winning concepts were Britty Macaddy Chikki (snack product), Purple Sesadamia Butter (future foods product), Soba and Macadamia Ration Cookie Bars (snack product) and Crispy Crunch Macadamia Karinto (confectionery product).
Finalists were invited to Byron Bay for the judging event, with macadamia growers, marketers and media also present for the winners’ announcement. The best Challenge concepts will soon be available for trial by food manufacturers and product developers.
The monthly trade e-newsletter, The Macadamia Review, continued to inform its international trade audience about the industry’s marketing news and insights. Published in English, German, Chinese and Japanese, in 2018/19 content focused on innovation to align with the aims of the Innovation Initiative, with health, event news, and consumer promotion updates also featured in the content mix.
Trade public relations (PR)
An international trade PR program was established for the first time this year to leverage the snacking and ice-cream consumer insights research, and the Innovation Challenge. Macadamia messaging appeared regularly in key trade media publications in Australia, Japan, China, South Korea and Taiwan, reaching an audience of more than one billion across three campaigns.
CONSUMER CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS
Teams in key markets including Australia, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and Germany focused on creating content positioning Australian Macadamias as a pure ingredient offering a pleasurable and guilt-free experience that can elevate food and life.
- Macadamias featured in several episodes of SBS program Food Lab hosted by former MasterChef Australia contestant Ben Milbourne. Featuring four macadamia recipes and a macadamia science segment, this activity was amplified across Food Lab’s and Ben Milbourne’s social media channels.
- An Australian PR and influencer campaign revealed the power of the macadamia beauty story to reach female consumers. The campaign shone the spotlight on macadamias as a premium nut focusing on provenance, health, beauty, and creativity, with coverage achieved in The Land, Australian Good Food Guide and 9kitchen. Beauty benefits proved particularly popular, with content seen via Rescu, Girl.com.au and BEAUTYcrew. The campaign also featured collaborations with health and wellbeing influencers, the most prominent being Ellie Bullen of Elsa’s Wholesome Life, who was hosted on a visit to a macadamia farm in the Northern Rivers. Ellie created a plethora of engaging content from the experience that she shared with her 686,000 Instagram fans.
- A South Korean Australian Macadamias Instagram account was launched this year, with Korean health and parenting influencer collaborations helping to grow the audience on this channel. This saw a wealth of engaging content created including recipes such as a Macadamia Tangerine Latte and Macadamia Banana Oatmeal Cookies.
- Influencer marketing is particularly important in China, where influencers boast substantial followings with the ability to broaden a partnering brand’s reach across a wide audience. Collaborations were established with lifestyle, fitness, creativity, fashion and beauty influencers, with campaigns executed on Weibo and WeChat under the theme ‘Little things matter’. The idea underpinning this was that macadamias can play a meaningful role in daily life by providing small, yet wonderful moments. This generated a range of inspiring content, including a video of an influencer making a coaster from macadamia shells that generated more than 3.5 million Weibo views.
- A successful partnership with German influencer Anja Auer of Woman on the Grill saw her creative recipe for Emperor’s Mess with macadamias shared on social media as well as German online news outlets, with a combined monthly reach of 12 million. Anja also produced a YouTube video to demonstrate the recipe, in which she explained why Australian-grown macadamias are the finest.
- For International Women’s Day the stories of five female Australian macadamia growers were shared across a number of mediums including blogs, video content, The Land and the Australian Macadamias consumer website and social media channels.
- For Valentine’s Day a social media event was held via the Australian Macadamias’ Japanese Twitter account that encouraged fans to cook something sweet for their loved one using macadamias, and post a photo of their creation on Twitter with the hashtag #MacadamiaValentine. In Korea, a special Valentine’s Day recipe created by influencer Hyoninii encouraged fans to create a home-made Valentine’s gift, and fans also had the chance to win a macadamia chocolate gift by leaving a Valentine’s Day comment for their loved one.
- Chinese New Year is a key calendar event, and in 2019 Chinese fans on Weibo and WeChat were encouraged to make macadamias a healthy addition to their celebration menus. The activity was accompanied by a cute Chinese New Year character, and WeChat fans had the chance to win a macadamia prize by sharing a New Year’s wish. A giveaway was also run on the Australian Macadamias Taiwanese Facebook page to engage macadamia fans in Taiwan.
- A Facebook campaign in Taiwan encouraged fans to enjoy some screen-free time outdoors with loved ones during the warmer months. Several macadamia picnic recipes were shared, with fans encouraged to nominate their favourite. Suggestions for good picnic locations helped round out the activity.
- A campaign was created to take Japanese fans further along the macadamia journey and expand the repertoire of how they can be enjoyed. Fans were invited to share their favourite recipe from the Australian Macadamias collection on Twitter, using the hashtag #DiscoverMacadamias for the chance to win a macadamia prize. This was accompanied by a collaboration with a fresh salad bar in Tokyo where customers could upgrade their salad with a free roasted macadamia topping, to discover the taste and texture enhancement first hand.
- A ‘Celebrate Summer’ competition was designed to attract more subscribers to the Australian Macadamias consumer e-newsletter. This activity invited people to sign up for a chance to win a macadamia Christmas hamper, and was one of the most successful competitions run in this campaign so far.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Macadamia Fund