Meet the ingredient set to disrupt chocolate and nut pairing
Australian Macadamias has released findings from independent research agency GalKal revealing macadamias are an underutilised ingredient in the traditional chocolate and nuts pairing. As consumers crave new and creative confectionery, macadamias can bring interest to commonplace product formulations.
Research shows that chocolate and nuts are an established pairing, dominated by nut varieties such as peanuts, hazelnuts and almonds. Over 13,000 chocolate products were launched globally in the past year, with over 1400 (11%) featuring hazelnuts and a further 485 (4%) featuring peanuts, with only 75 products (0.5%) featuring macadamias.
“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,” said Lynne Ziehlke, General Manager of Marketing for the Australian macadamia industry.
Australia is one of the world’s major producer of the macadamia kernel and macadamias are Australia’s fourth-largest horticultural export. There are approximately 800 growers producing over 45,000 tonnes of macadamias per year, with 70% of the crop exported to over 40 countries.
Research also introduced 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 settle for products that don’t deliver the inherent pleasure of eating chocolate.
The research was compiled through interviews that were conducted with influencers in Germany, China and the US. Further interviews were carried out in an online community with prosumers in Germany and the US, followed by focus groups in China.
“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,” said Ziehlke.
The distinct taste and texture of macadamias makes them a good addition to a category in need of disruption. Macadamias can also balance out very sweet or savoury flavours and create a harmonious overall taste profile, opening up a range of opportunities for new product formulations.
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