Our 8-Step Process
Macadamias are a hard nut to crack, but that’s not the only step in the production of macadamia kernel. Here’s the process in a nutshell.
- The process starts on the farm with growers harvesting the nuts, removing the fibrous outer husk, and visually inspecting the nuts to remove any nuts with obvious defects.
- The nuts are received, and the weight delivered by the grower is recorded. Samples are taken and used to carefully assess the moisture content and quality of the nuts. This information is used to determine how much a grower is paid for their consignment.
- After sampling, the nuts are transferred via a series of conveyors to a state-of-the-art drying facility. The heat used for drying comes from the burning of macadamia shell (a by-product in the processing operation).
- To ensure nut quality is maintained, all drying steps are controlled by a computer system that allows for precise regulation of the temperature and humidity.
- After drying, the nuts are mechanically cracked. A series of processes (such as sizing graders, air separators called aspirators and electronic colour sorters) are used to separate the shell from the kernel. At the end of the process, macadamia kernels free from shell are sent for manual inspection.
- The first stage of sorting utilises innovative colour sorters. During machine setup, trained operators take pictures of good and bad kernels using cameras in the machine. The operator then uses the machine software to define the colour and size of the individual defect.
- In operation, a stream of macadamia kernel passes the cameras where each kernel is individually photographed. The computer quickly scans the image of each kernel checking for defect colours and the area that the defect colour covers. Defective nuts are shot with a small blast of compressed air to remove them from the good product. All of this happens while the kernel is moving at 2m/second.
- Once the kernel passes through the colour sorter, it goes to the sorting area for manual inspection. The product that the colour sorter rejects is collected under the colour sorter and is further processed to recover usable kernel.
- The manual inspection area is where specially trained sorting staff inspect the kernel a final time to remove any potential defects missed during the previous steps. From here, the kernel moves to a sizing tower. The sizing tower separates kernel into its different sizes (better known as ‘styles’).
- Once sorted and sized, the kernel is tested to ensure it meets the highest standards. If the kernel does not meet our specifications, it is resorted. Kernel that passes the rigorous testing process proceeds to the next step.
- Product is passed through our state-of-the-art Napasol pasteurisation process where it is treated to ensure food safety. This process has been independently validated to provide a 5-log reduction of salmonella.
- All finished product is packed in vacuum-sealed, nitrogen-flushed foil pouches within cardboard cartons, ensuring the kernel stays as fresh as the day it was produced. The cartons are checked for weight and have identifying barcode labels attached – these labels identify the product and provide full traceability for individual cartons of kernel all the way back to the farm. The cartons are stored in the warehouse, where the kernel is then dispatched to customers around the world.