THAT's the thing about macadamias. When the humble Australian native nut is one of the ingredients, the food being created is instantly transformed into a premium product.
It's this fact and a seemingly insatiable demand from food manufacturers and consumers around the globe that has resulted in the launch of Marquis Macadamias, the world's largest macadamia processor and marketer.
The new brand consolidates Macadamia Processing Company (MPC) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Bundaberg's Pacific Gold Macadamias (PGM), and their marketing company Brisbane's Macadamia Marketing International (MMI), which is jointly owned by South Africa's Global Macadamias.
The farmer owned cooperative grows, processes and sells 48 per cent of Australia's macadamia production (about 22,000 tonnes nut-in-shell) and is responsible for 22pc of global kernel sales, while handling more than 16pc of nut in shell world production.
Speaking at a growers launch at the Marquis Macadamias' plant near Lismore, chief executive officer Larry McHugh said the group was in an expansion phase, aiming to double its turnover from $250 million in 2019 to $500m by 2024.
"Bringing MPC, PGM and MMI under the one brand is about consolidating our current position as the world's largest macadamia processor and marketer," Mr McHugh said.
"The addition of South Africa's Global Macadamias will initially add an additional 15,000 tonnes of nut-in-shell and 2500t of kernel to the group's production. And this will grow rapidly.
"It not only ensures we have access to the largest growers worldwide, it adds regional diversity to our supply chain.
"Sourcing our macadamias from two continents reduces our exposure to drought and other seasonal variabilities that affect supply."
Macadamias are sold both on a wholesale nut-in-shell and kernel basis to a number of major markets, including the United States, Europe and Asia, as well as packaged kernels to US and Australia's retailers.
Mr McHugh said a key opportunity for Marquis Macadamias was to increase its value-adding products and launch a Marquis brand for retailers.
"Put macadamias into any product and it becomes a premium product," he said.
"There is no end to the opportunities for value-adding, from flavours such as wasabi, to mixed nuts, and ingredients for cookies and ice cream.
Mr McHugh said the company's grower owned structure was one of the company's key strengths.