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Australia • 07 March 2022

Macadamia Oil: From a Processing By-Product to Valuable Commodity

A growing appreciation of macadamia oil’s versatility and health and beauty benefits has seen increased demand for this singular oil variety. From the food service, manufacturing and grocery industries to the cosmetics and personal care world, macadamia oil is now a sought-after specialist niche product.

Once considered a by-product of macadamia processing, macadamia oil is now in high demand as a cooking oil, food ingredient, flavouring additive, health supplement, and as a carrying agent for skincare products, aromatherapy and therapeutic oils.

Marquis Marketing’s General Manager says Macadamia Oil is on the rise

“We are now seeing encouraging demand growth in most geographies and industry sectors, from the US and EU through to Asian markets,” said General Manager of Marquis Marketing Charles Cormack.

“Macadamia oil is a small but growing product range for the Marquis Group with year-on-year sales volume growing 109 per cent from 2020 to 2021, and with an average annual growth of 60 per cent between 2018 and 2021.

“Our objective is to work with food retailers and processors, and the cosmetics industry in Australia and globally, to help them understand the benefits of macadamia oil and encourage them to include it in their products. We are ready to work with them on product development and recently broadened our macadamia oil offering to include five different specifications of oil, from unrefined food grade through to 100 per cent refined cosmetic oil. We are now able to offer a tailor-made solution to meet any food, cosmetic or industrial application.

“There is a significant premium associated with macadamia oil due to the relative scarcity of the oil and the limited supply, but we are confident that demand will continue to grow strongly as consumers learn about the unique qualities of this multipurpose oil.”

Mr Cormack said macadamia oil is good for our health, our skin, and the environment.

“Macadamia oil contains the highest percentage of monounsaturated fats, up to 84 per cent, when compared to both olive oil and canola oil, making macadamia oil healthier than most tree nut oils,” he said.

“Another important characteristic of macadamia oil is its high smoke point of between 210°C and 234°C. An oil’s smoke point is the temperature at which it starts to smoke and develop an unpleasant, bitter taste.  This makes macadamia oil extremely versatile in the kitchen as both a cooking and salad oil.

“Macadamia oil is gaining popularity as a food ingredient and flavouring agent, and as an additive to mueslis, cereals, sauces and dressings.”

The use of macadamia nut oil in cosmetic products has already established a niche but dedicated following across a range of products. This is partly due to its propensity to be readily and quickly absorbed by all skin types without leaving a greasy residue, which makes it an excellent carrier of other skin products. Its popularity is growing rapidly as new products are launched and more consumers experience the benefits.

“Macadamia oil is also a sustainable substitute for other oils such as coconut and palm oil, commonly used in food and cosmetic products, with more manufacturers looking to include macadamia oil as part of their eco-friendly credentials,” Mr Cormack said.

Marquis Marketing General Manager, Charles Cormack

“Not only does macadamia oil taste great and have a multitude of health and beauty benefits, but its sustainable production can also have positive impacts on the environment.”

As strong advocates for the sustainable production of macadamias, Marquis Macadamias’ facilities and growers are leaders in setting industry standards.

Last month, Hinkler Park Plantations, a 3,000-hectare macadamia farm and shareholder of the Marquis group, based in Bundaberg, Queensland, announced achieving total greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction and removal of 17,670 tonnes (t) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) between 2020 and 2021 across its entire macadamia production system through carbon sequestration and cutting energy and fertiliser use.

This is the equivalent of offsetting the emissions from 4,236 passenger vehicles for an entire year.

Marquis Macadamias ensures the whole nut is used in production. On farm, growers add the macadamia husk under trees to improve soil health and to compost mixes. When pruning, growers chip branches to use as mulch. All macadamia shell from the factories is used either as renewable fuel to provide energy to dry nut-in-shell or is milled into stockfeed. 

Macadamia oil, which was a by-product of kernel processing is rapidly becoming a valuable niche product bringing more value to growers and helping ensure the long-term viability, sustainability and stability of the macadamia industry.