Creating the tastiest macadamia nuts
Consumers could soon be enjoying macadamias that are tastier and more appealing than ever with new market research identifying what helps make a perfect macadamia and how to create it, state researchers from CSIRO, the Australian member of the ESN.
Two evaluation panels – one of consumers and one of experts – taste tested the difference in flavour, texture, odour, after-taste and appearance of different macadamia varieties cooked differently. The ‘ideal’ macadamia chosen by consumers was large, fresh, roasted and slightly darker than what is available in Australian stores. The expert panel’s assessment revealed more specific sensory properties.
“By measuring consumer preferences and relating it to the source and treatment of nuts we can provide the macadamia industry with information to help them produce nuts that are more appealing to consumers,” says Dr Patrick O’Riordan from Food Science Australia - a joint venture of CSIRO and the Victorian Government. “The range of sensory properties identified by the expert panel can also be used to develop tastier nuts.”
Macadamia researcher from CSIRO, Dr Cameron McConchie selected and prepared the macadamias for the taste testing, using macadamias from different sources and roasting them under different conditions. “Importantly for industry, the age and related rancidity of macadamias are discerned by consumers even when the macadamias fall within an acceptable industry standard,” says Dr McConchie. “Industry could use this information to develop methods to weed out bad tasting macadamias, overall, getting roasting conditions right is the most important factor in the preferred macadamias.”
In what is considered to be good news for growers the consumer panel did not detect any difference between different macadamia varieties or nuts grown in different regions or farms. “This research on consumer preference could help the young macadamia industry expand its markets and provide consumers with a quality guarantee,” says Dr McConchie.
Dr Cameron McConchie
Dr Patrick O’Riordan
Photo: © Popova Olga - Fotolia.com