Hort Innovation invests the macadamia marketing levy into a range of activities to drive awareness and consumption of the nut, under the Hort Innovation Macadamia Fund. These activities are managed in collaboration between Hort Innovation and our partner team at the Australian Macadamia Society, who have provided this quick summary of trade and consumer marketing highlights from 2020/21.
TRADE CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS
2020/21 was the first year in a new international marketing strategy for the Australian macadamia industry. Known as #DiscoverMacadamias, it comprises consumer and trade marketing activity designed to help food innovators and manufacturers incorporate macadamias in new product development in anticipation of increased supply becoming available following significant new global investment in macadamia production.
Discover Macadamias global consumer research
Ongoing consumer insights research is a cornerstone of the Australian Macadamias marketing program, and the past year was no exception, with the commissioning of an extensive quantitative study with over 6000 respondents. Conducted in Australia, Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and the USA, the research uncovered potent findings related to macadamia awareness, usage and perceptions alongside broader consumer attitudes to health and wellness. The key findings are being compiled into the Discover Macadamias Report for the industry’s marketers, and the most compelling insights will help to shape key messaging for both consumer and trade marketing and public relations activity over the next 12 months.
Macadamia Marketing Toolkit new asset development
The Macadamia Marketing Toolkit is an online resource that assists the commercial sector to convey macadamias’ health, taste, provenance, and mood-boosting benefits to food manufacturers. New Gen Z consumer research insights and consumer promotion highlights were added during 2020/21.
Trade social media
The Australian Macadamias trade WeChat and LinkedIn channels have continued to grow over the 2020/21 period, further embedding their importance as key trade communications platforms. WeChat continues to be the primary channel for communicating with the trade audience in China. Followers and engagement increased, with the audience size up 21 per cent and shares up more than 150 per cent (FY20 vs FY21).
Trade news content is published on LinkedIn 2-3 times per week. A combination of the macadamia industry’s own news stories and 3rd party content shared from other credible sources, it continues to help key messaging reach a substantial global trade audience. A paid LinkedIn campaign was added in 2020/21 which has helped grow the LinkedIn following, driven more traffic to the trade website and gained more than 130 new trade e-news subscribers. The paid campaign is highly tailored, targeting decision makers in the food and beverage industry in key and emerging markets. The Australian Macadamias LinkedIn audience grew almost 75 per cent in the 12 months to June 2021. Average monthly views of the LinkedIn page increased 47 per cent, average monthly unique LinkedIn visitors were up 30 per cent, average monthly post engagement rose 115 per cent and average post impressions increased by 309 per cent.
The trade e-newsletter, The Macadamia Review, is published every 3-4 weeks and continues to inform its international trade audience about the industry’s marketing news and insights. Published in English, German and Japanese, in 2020/21 its content covered a range of topics including innovation, consumer insights, promotion highlights, health news, crop forecasts, and market reports. The year’s content highlights included:
- Meiji launches high-cacao macadamia chocolate for increasingly health-conscious consumers: Iconic Japanese food company Meiji launched a new macadamia variant of its much-loved high cacao “Chocolate Koka” range. Chocolate Koka Cacao 72% Rich Macadamia matches dark chocolate with the flavour and sweetness of roasted macadamias and is designed to appeal to consumers who have grown more health conscious.
- Why consumers aren’t eating enough nuts and the opportunities this represents: Research shows regular nut consumption is associated with a wealth of health benefits, yet most people still aren’t eating enough of them. A narrative review examining the barriers and facilitators of nut consumption highlighted that despite promotion of nut consumption in dietary guidelines around the world, nut intake is well below recommended levels, sparking a discussion about what sits between consumers’ current behaviour and the recommendations they’re ignoring, and how that gap can be bridged.
- Plant-forward: how nuts compare with other plant proteins for human and planetary health: The trend towards plant-based and plant-forward eating shows no signs of abating, and there is emerging evidence behind the idea that it is good for both human and planetary health. As research and innovation continues to develop new forms of protein to meet the needs of plant-curious consumers, a new review of the literature highlights several ways in which nuts offer many positives compared to the other plant-based proteins on the market.
- Macro trends 2020: what was driving food and beverage decisions in a year like no other: Having first examined the macro trends driving consumer behaviour back in 2017, in 2020 this theme was revisited to see how the landscape had changed. It revealed the emergence of 5 new macro trends: changing self-identity, clarity and transparency, convenience with control, conscious eating and demand for sustainable practices and environmental action.
Trade public relations
International trade public relations campaigns continued over the 2020/21 period, leveraging research findings and the opportunities these present for macadamias in the global innovation space.
In October 2020, a campaign exploring Generation Z and the future of food was launched. Revealing findings from consumer insights research carried out in western and Asian markets, it explored the different expectations of food that Gen Z have compared to generations before, and how macadamias are well positioned to meet those needs. The campaign achieved more than 100 pieces of coverage in trade media across China, South Korea, and Australia, with a combined circulation of 1.6 billion.
The second campaign of 2020/21 was launched in March and leveraged key findings from the Discover Macadamias research related to provenance and why it matters to consumers. The campaign revealed 82 per cent of consumers globally say origin matters to them when purchasing macadamias and explored the journey a macadamia nut takes from being grown in an Australian orchard, through the processing sector and into end products in a variety of markets. The campaign resulted in 105 pieces of coverage in global trade media, with a combined circulation of 1.2 billion.
CONSUMER CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS
The Australian Macadamias brand was actively promoted to consumers in Australia, Japan, China, Taiwan, and South Korea in 2020/21, with teams in each of these markets creating content to promote Australian Macadamias as a pure ingredient offering a pleasurable and guilt-free experience that can elevate food and life. The consumer campaign continues to grow the Australian Macadamias audience across social media, website and e-news channels globally. The domestic market performed particularly well this year, with the Australian following tipping more than 102,000 followers across all key channels, driven by strong growth on Facebook, Instagram and the consumer e-newsletter.
New video and recipe content
Ongoing generation of high-quality, contemporary, and engaging content is one of the foundations of the consumer marketing program. The extensive Australian Macadamias recipe collection was expanded this year, with 25 delicious new recipes developed and photographed, including Warm Spice Infused Macadamia Milk with Warming Spiced Macadamias, Roasted Macadamia Conjee, and Macadamia Mascarpone French Toast. Two e-books were released – The Macadamia Beauty Book and Winter Warming Macadamia Meals, showcasing some of the most popular food and beauty recipes.
Two new brand videos added to the growing library of Australian Macadamias high quality video content. The videos were translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Taiwanese and used in these markets as well.
- Discover Your Best Self: This beautifully shot video highlights all the best elements of macadamias and Australia. Depicting active people surfing, ocean swimming, bushwalking and running, the campaign encourages viewers to ‘discover, to grow and to create’ and includes messaging around nutrition and wellness. A video with longevity that will continue to tell the brand story for years to come, it also won gold in the Corporate Branding and Advertising Category at the Australian Cinematography Society Awards. It’s been watched more than 7,000 times on YouTube.
- Macadamia Change Maker Marc Harrison: Australian Macadamias fans are eager to be informed about every facet of the macadamia experience, and they seek brands and products they can feel good investing their energy, interest and money in. In June 2021 the first video in a new international consumer campaign launched. A celebration of people and brands that are using macadamias in creative and life-enriching ways, the first video introduced Husque – the brand of ‘wood whisperer’, artist and furniture maker Marc Harrison, who turns macadamia shell and timber into beautiful iconic art forms. Watched almost 10,000 times on YouTube, this video will be followed by more Macadamia Change Maker stories in FY22.
Consumer public relations
Australia: This year a major consumer public relations campaign was executed to drive awareness of the benefits of macadamias with Australian consumers and expand the reach of that messaging beyond the existing Australian Macadamias fan base. The campaign was created to encourage Australian consumers to consider macadamias as an indulgent and delicious healthier food option by highlighting their emotional and functional benefits.
A major component of the activity was a collaboration with Lyndi Cohen, an Australian nutritionist, TV dietitian, influencer and best-selling author of The Nude Nutritionist. Lyndi spent time in the Bundaberg growing region, meeting with macadamia growers, posted extensively about macadamias on her social media channels, and was a spokesperson for numerous high profile media opportunities including The Australian, The Courier Mail and Women’s Health, and a spot on the Channel 9 Today Show. Over the 2020/21 period, the PR campaign achieved potential to view of over 28 million in online and traditional media, with 3 million of this achieved through Lyndi’s activity. Further outreach to media and influencers will continue in the next financial year.
Influencer marketing campaigns
China: Cutting through the online noise during China’s festive period requires a creative approach. For the 2020/21 season, macadamia messaging was shared via a series of comic strips on Chinese social media channels WeChat and Weibo, showing how macadamias can play an integral part in these occasions. Comics were released for both Christmas and New Year featuring cute animal characters and storylines, generating strong engagement among fans. For Chinese New Year, popular Chinese illustrator, Tough Publishing, created a comic called I’m Sorry I Couldn’t Be By Your Side. It showed how families could still celebrate Chinese New Year together, even if they couldn’t visit their loved ones, with macadamias as the gift that unites people. This campaign was viewed around 700,000 times, had more than 16,000 engagements and attracted new followers to Australian Macadamias’ WeChat and Weibo accounts.
South Korea: 2020/21 saw the start of a series of influencer collaborations in South Korea, in the form of Instagram takeover campaigns. Designed to drive awareness of the various benefits of macadamias, every two months, a different influencer ‘took over’ the Australian Macadamias Korean Instagram account, posting inspiring content that shows how they personally use macadamias. Instagram takeovers are a fun way for a brand to bring a fresh and credible voice to its account. Having a trustworthy influencer temporarily take over is a great endorsement, as it demonstrates the influencers’ trust in the brand. Four takeovers were completed, with a variety of lifestyle, food and fitness influencers. To prepare for their takeovers, a Macadamia Masterclass was held, where a chef demonstrated healthy macadamia recipes, and a beauty expert shared macadamia health and beauty tips. This provided inspiration for the influencers’ content and further familiarised them with the macadamia health, taste and beauty story. All the influencers who attended posted content about what they had learned to their combined 1 million social media followers. The masterclass was livestreamed on the Korean Australian Macadamias Facebook page, and later shared on Instagram, ensuring the consumer fan base could enjoy the content as well.
Japan: The launch of Kikkoman Macadamia Milk, made with Australian grown macadamias, presented an ideal opportunity to collaborate with brands and influencers to create a dynamic consumer promotion. In partnership with Kikkoman and TJs Nutcrackers, three high-impact Japanese food influencers - Tesshi, Pepe, and Tomoki Takemura - created innovative macadamia recipe content and shared it with their substantial Instagram and Twitter audiences, while offering the chance to win one of 150 macadamia prize packs. This was supported by a beautifully produced video from YouTuber Peaceful Cuisine, who showed his 2.3 million subscribers how to make Macadamia Nut Cookies and Latte, with the video amassing more than 200,000 views. The campaign generated close to 9,000 competition entries, and more than 70,000 post engagements.
Australia: Competitions engage fans on social media and in Australia, they are also a highly effective method of growing the Australian Macadamias consumer database, which has now grown to almost 29,000 subscribers, up 26 per cent on the previous 12 months. 2020/21 saw two competitions carried out in Australia. The first took place in the lead-up to Christmas. Called ’12 Days of Christmas with Australian Macadamias’, the activity encouraged people to sign up to the newsletter for the chance to win a macadamia prize, with the activity achieving more than 7,300 entries. Participants were also asked ‘What sort of adventure are you planning this holiday season?’, with the top 3 responses being a staycation, beach holiday and family escape. The results were developed into a media release and blog post featuring ‘top tips for an epic staycation’ by media personality Lyndey Milan. A second competition was held in May and June 2021, called ‘Win Macadamias for Winter’. This activity achieved almost 7,900 entries, with more than 90 per cent opting into the consumer e-newsletter database.
The COVID-19 pandemic meant few live events took place over the 2020/21 period.
Australia: World Macadamia Day on 4 September presented an ideal opportunity to highlight the nut’s Australian origin. A campaign spanning both social and traditional media achieved strong results with potential reach of more than 420,000. In the Northern Rivers and Bundaberg, growers competed in on-farm macadamia cracking competitions, attracting TV news, radio, online and print media coverage. Several macadamia giveaways ran on the Australian Macadamias Facebook page with prizes from partners Brookfarm, Nutworks, Macadamias Australia and Stahmann Farms.
Taiwan: In May, Australian Macadamias sponsored ET Today Chill Day, an all-ages outdoor event featuring a range of attractions including a foodie market, photo booth, and live music performances. The event attracted 25,000 people live, and many more online with the event also livestreamed on ET Today’s website, app and Facebook page. The sponsorship delivered valuable brand exposure and the opportunity to conduct a macadamia cooking demonstration on stage in partnership with “Nanaco”, a popular Taiwanese food influencer and YouTuber. ET Today is a major online news and entertainment channel in Taiwan, and the event was promoted heavily before, during and after, with the activity exceeding expectations and reaching an audience of more than half a million people.
These marketing activities are strategic levy investments in the Hort Innovation Macadamia Fund