Last week Global Food Studies researcher Craig Johns attended a workshop held in Honiara, Solomon Islands for canarium nut industry stakeholders across 3 Pacific countries; Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. The workshop was part of the ‘Pacific Agribusiness Research for Development Initiative’ funded by the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR).
In addition to Craig Johns, three other Global Food Studies researchers Mr Theo Simos, Associate Professor Wendy Umberger and Professor Randy Stringer as well as our PhD student Ms Anna Finizio have also been involved in PARDI .The University of Adelaide’s role in the project is to provide market and consumer research to drive innovation and industry development right along the chain including value adding processing and smallholder farmer production.
Canarium nuts come from a tall indigenous tree grown throughout the South Pacific. The nuts are known by different local names such as nangai in Vanuatu, ngali in Solomon’s and galip in PNG. The nuts are culturally significant and also a popular snack favourite of visiting tourists. There has been strong evidence of unfulfilled domestic demand in all 3 countries so it has been important to try and understand domestic market and consumer requirements as well as future export market potential once industry capabilities increase.
The consumer research work identified enormous potential. Research is now focused on understanding specific consumer groups to gauge their perceptions and willingness to pay for different types of value-added canarium products.
Target markets identified in their work include tourists in Vanuatu, food service and hotels in Solomon Islands, export markets like Australia once domestic demand is fulfilled and industry capability increases.
Some of the key insights from customer and consumer research conducted in Vanuatu and Australia included;
1) Tourists to Vanuatu
- 92% bought a souvenir during their stay, 65% of these were food products
- Nut purchasing increased slightly while on holidays
- Tourists are willing to spend up to $10 AUD on packs of canarium nuts
- Key occasions for purchasing canarium nuts was while relaxing at accommodation (79%) and as a gift (69%)
- Preferred retail outlet to purchase the nuts were supermarket (83%) followed by the central market (72%)
- Nut Attributes valued the most were 1) organic 2) nutritious 3) able to pass quarantine 4) chemical and preservative free 5) fresh 6) healthy
2) Nut companies in Australia
- Most common processing opportunities were roasting, salting and as an ingredient in other foods
- Suggested market segment most suitable for canarium were health stores, gourmet foods, bakery and confectionary
- Most important nut attributes were flavor, price, freshness, nutritional characteristics, packaging and colour
For information, please contact Mr Craig Johns (craig.johns[at]adelaide.edu.au) or visit the PARDI homepage at the GFS website, here.