COMPETITION: Australian Macadamia Innovation Challenge competitors and judges. Competitors from Australia, Japan and China are showcasing a range of unique and innovative concepts for a new packaged food product containing macadamias.
COMPETITION: Australian Macadamia Innovation Challenge competitors and judges. Competitors from Australia, Japan and China are showcasing a range of unique and innovative concepts for a new packaged food product containing macadamias.

Cool new food products on show at macadamia challenge

FROM Wayne Rieseberg's pavlova and macadamia nougat to Pridhuvi Thavaraj's Purple Sesadamia Butter, new and exciting macadamia products were on show this week at the finals of the Australian Macadamia Society Innovation Challenge.

Hosted by The Farm in Byron Bay, the Innovation Challenge finals showcased products to inspire the food manufacturing industry to develop new food products using macadamias.

Australian Macadamias' market development manager Lynne Ziehlke said the competition was designed to explore the possibility of using macadamias differently in manufacturing products, and is the first competition of its kind in the global tree nut industry.

"We targeted food technology students who could produce new and exciting ideas which could be further developed,” she said.

"The interesting thing about these students is they're young and are up to date with all of the latest food trends. After all they're living and breathing those trends.”

She said the challenge, now in its second year, had a "fantastic” response, tripling the number of entries compared to last year.

"The contestants have impressed us with their amazing ability to think outside the box with macadamias,” Ms Ziehlke said.

"It was extremely difficult to select just 10 finalists.”

She said the challenge competitors, who are food technology students and professionals from Australia, Japan and China, submitted an impressive range of unique and innovative concepts for a new packaged food product containing macadamias across four categories including cereals, snacks, confectionery and 'future foods'.

Each entry was judged on taste, insight and trend behind the creation, and how new the concept is to the market.

Within the student and professional categories respectively, Britty Macaddy Chikki developer Kirti Mittal and and Purple Sesadamia Butter's Pridhuvi Thavaraj both won a trip to attend Fi Europe 2019, the leading global meeting place for food and beverage innovation hosted in Paris.

The team category winners developed the unique Soba and Macadamia Ration Cookie Bars, taking home a $5000 cash prize.

Natsumi Otani was selected as the standout Industry Choice Winner for her innovative Crispy Crunch Macadamia Karinto product, with a unique Asian twist.

The judging panel included Brookfarm and Cape Byron Distillery co-founder Pam Brook, Kubomura Foods Advisory Consultants Japan president Dr Kiyoko Kubomura, Haigh's Chocolates technical and product manager Ben Kolly and Emma and Tom's co-founder Emma Welsh.