I am pleased to contribute to my first The Nutshell since joining Marquis, and I want to keep everyone updated on how the season is progressing and address some critical points.
Firstly, I would like to express my thanks to the many shareholders who attended the three meetings earlier this year. It was good to have met so many of you in person, and I truly appreciate your active participation. We genuinely value your feedback, and we are actively listening to your concerns. We are determined to make changes wherever possible to ease the current difficulties and improve the situation for all of us, both now and in the future.
For those whom I haven’t met yet – I look forward to meeting you in person. Please know that I am always available and welcome your calls anytime.
It seems that the size of the 2023 crop may not meet our initial estimates. We have been closely monitoring the deliveries, and based on the data, we are now adjusting our forecasts downward. As expected, lower NIS volumes and a decrease in the SKR percentage will ultimately impact the total kernel production.
Regarding sales, Marquis Marketing has been making solid progress with both NIS and kernel. You will see a report within this newsletter. It is still too early for me to provide updates on the notional price. As of now, the notional price remains at $1.70/kg at 10% MC with 33% PKR and 3% USK. Our payment plan also remains unchanged at this time.
I have been pleased with the receivals team’s service this season so far. We have had a number of record weeks for delivery in Bundaberg, yet we were able to accommodate all requests in a timely fashion to keep harvest moving as efficiently as possible.
Lastly, I want to acknowledge the difficult conditions faced by all our supplying shareholders in the current environment, and I want to express my gratitude for your resilience and dedication. We recognise the situation’s urgency and are working tirelessly to overcome these challenges as quickly as possible. However, we all know they extend beyond our organisation and are part of a broader industry issue with global implications. Resolving these issues will take time, and we are committed to finding sustainable solutions.
Please be assured that myself and the entire team at Marquis are dedicated to finding effective outcomes and providing support throughout this process.
If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact me or any member of our team. Your partnership and contribution are greatly appreciated.
We are rapidly approaching the halfway mark of the harvest in what has been one of the most challenging seasons for the Macadamia Industry worldwide. We are a rapidly growing industry and are experiencing the growing pains that this inevitably brings.
The 2023 harvest is progressing well, many growers in Bundaberg are heading towards the end of harvest with reports that tree shakers are starting to be deployed. Some Northern NSW growers are only just getting underway after a very late nut drop and intermittent wet weather hampering harvest.
Total kernel recoveries are down in both regions by about 3.5% on the 2022 crop. Reject levels in the Bundaberg region are quite low and reflect the better than average growing and harvest conditions. The Northern NSW region has seen a significant reduction in Commercial grade and a modest reduction in Reject kernel from the 2022 crop which was heavily affected by wet weather and flooding.
Processing is well underway with particular focus on meeting early orders for the NIS market in China. This is being aided by a newly installed colour sorter at our Lismore factory. We’ve been working with a manufacturer to adapt a colour sorter / grader from the fruit industry that rotates the NIS on rollers and can sort and size macadamia nuts with great precision. Unlike existing machines this system can separate nuts into 6 different product streams based on a combination of size and surface appearance. The system is also very gentle on the nuts, unlike sizing trommels and due to the rotation of the NIS through the camera inspection area it is extremely accurate for sizing and surface defect identification. The new machine has removed the need for any manual sorting on this line. We are currently in the process of installing a 2nd machine in the Bundaberg factory to maximise throughput, improve product quality and reduce labour costs. This combined with a move to bulk packaging of NIS has reduced labour costs in our NIS bagging operations and is assisting us meet the ever-increasing quality standards required for this market.
In response to the early increase in NIS sales we’ve also changed our shift structures for kernel production, reducing staffing and minimising hours of operation where shift penalties apply. Another small win was had with a packing project, we have been able to increase the weight of some small styles packed in our cartons from 10kg to the 11.34kg achieved for halves and whole kernel. We’ve managed to convert style 5 and 6 to this packing format which will generate savings in packaging materials, labour and freight.
We look forward to good harvest conditions for the remainder of the season and assure you that as always we are continuously looking for every opportunity to improve our efficiency and increase the value of the products that we make from your crop.
The Power of Face-to-Face: Sales Team Visits Driving Success with New and Existing Customers
We are happy to provide you with an update on the progress made by our Sales team since our last meeting in April. Over the past month, the team has been working to implement the strategies presented, and we are pleased to share some significant achievements with you.
One of the highlights in May was our participation at the INC Congress held in London. This event provided an excellent platform for us to connect with new and existing customers personally. Meeting face-to-face with our valued clients allowed us to deepen our relationships and gain valuable insights into their needs and expectations.
The outcome of the INC Congress has been truly remarkable. We had the pleasure of meeting numerous potential clients from Vietnam who expressed a keen interest in our Australia NIS for further processing. This presents an exciting opportunity to expand our market presence and establish mutually beneficial partnerships in the region.
Furthermore, we are thrilled to announce that we have signed a significant deal with a global chocolate brand. This partnership highlights the exceptional quality of our products and demonstrates our commitment to collaborating with renowned brands in the industry. This achievement is a testament to our Sales team’s hard work and dedication.
During the congress, we also had several productive meetings with customers from various parts of the world. We engaged in discussions about potential strategic alliances moving forward, which laid the foundation for fruitful collaborations in the future. As a result of these promising discussions, we anticipate an increase in sales during the second half of 2023, particularly in the American and European markets.
Apart from the business generated at the INC Congress, we are pleased to inform you that we have secured two new volume contracts in China. Furthermore, we have opened two new accounts in Indonesia, further expanding our reach in Southeast Asia.
Looking ahead, we have planned visits to Japan and Korea in June. These visits will enable us to nurture our relationship with existing clients and explore potential collaborations with new snack makers in these markets. By leveraging our existing partnerships with trading houses, we aim to strengthen our presence and seize the opportunities presented by these regions.
As we reflect on these recent achievements, we remain committed to our mission of delivering exceptional products and forging solid partnerships worldwide. We acknowledge our current challenges, and we know it will take time to achieve a more sustainable level of growth.
However, we are optimistic regarding the market’s potential and confident in our ability to achieve our goals and create long-term value for our shareholders.
Indian Top Distributor visits Australia
In a significant development for our industry, the Australian Macadamia Society organised for the owners of one of the largest Indian food distributor to visit Australia* to explore potential partnerships with local macadamia suppliers.
At the end of April, we had the honour of hosting visitors from India, and we were determined to showcase to them why they should partner with Marquis.
To kick off their visit, Phil Zadro took the visitors on a captivating helicopter flight, offering the team a mesmerising aerial view of the Bundaberg macadamia farms. It was a fantastic way to introduce them to Marquis’ success story and set the stage for an incredible day ahead.
Next on the itinerary was a visit to the Hinkler Park Plantation, where Clayton Mattiazzi led the delegation on a comprehensive tour. From witnessing the grafting process to observing the meticulous harvesting techniques, the Indian team gained valuable insights into the dedication and expertise invested in producing top-quality macadamias.
After immersing themselves in the farm experience, we took our visitors to our Bundaberg factory, where Steve Lee guided them through our processing facilities. Witnessing the transformation of raw materials into the final products exemplified our commitment to excellence at every stage.
To conclude this eventful day, we had a productive dinner with the Australian Macadamia Society (AMS) members. Organised by AMS, this gathering provided an opportunity for further networking and strengthened the camaraderie between our teams.
In conclusion, this visit has been a significant milestone in expanding our market reach and establishing strong connections in the Indian food distribution industry. It was an exceptional opportunity for us to showcase the quality and potential of Marquis Macadamias, and we spared no effort in providing our visitors with an unforgettable experience.
We are confident that we have laid a solid foundation for future partnerships, and we eagerly anticipate the opportunity to start distributing our macadamias in India very soon.
* The importer’s trip was a part of the Nut Export Expansion Program funded under Agriculture Trade and Market Access Cooperation program (ATMAC), by the Commonwealth of Australia represented by the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF).
Our Instagram Account is now up and running!
We are happy to announce that our company’s Instagram account is now up and running!
Our clear objective is to promote our factory and online shops and increase macadamia’s demand among final consumers.
We have already laid the groundwork for a compelling Instagram strategy, with a focus on captivating content, creative visuals, and strategic partnerships. By showcasing the deliciousness and versatility of our macadamia products, we aim to capture the attention of consumers around Australia.
In addition to product promotions, our Instagram account will serve as a hub for sharing engaging and informative content related to macadamias. This includes recipes, health benefits, sustainability initiatives, and behind-the-scenes glimpses into our production process.
By positioning ourselves as a knowledgeable and trustworthy source of macadamia-related information, we aim to build brand affinity and establish ourselves as a go-to destination for macadamia enthusiasts.
We encourage you to follow our Instagram account and actively engage with our content. Liking, sharing, and commenting on our posts will help amplify our message, increase reach, and attract more potential customers to our Factory and Online shops.
Lismore signage will promote the Factory Shop
Following your feedback and request, we are replacing our current factory signage in Lismore. This decision is part of our ongoing commitment to promoting our products directly to local consumers. We want to make sure that all Lismore residents and passers-by are aware of the incredible products available within our walls.
We envisage the new signage will be on display in around four weeks, and its fresh, modern, and eye-catching design will better represent our brand and attract more visitors to explore what we have to offer.