The Australian Macadamias Innovation Challenge Finals event returned this week to Byron Bay, Australia, giving the most creative individuals in the industry the chance to come together and take their innovative food creation to the next level. 

Following the success of last year’s inaugural Macadamias Innovation Challenge, this one-of-a-kind industry event continues to inspire new food concepts using the versatile macadamia nut and drive new demand for macadamias globally. 

Research has found that macadamias are a perfect ingredient for innovation as a premium, high-quality and healthy food, with market trends highlighting that consumers are actively on the look-out for new products with that use macadamias. 

As the world’s leading producer of macadamia kernels and the nation’s fourth largest horticultural export, there was truly no place more suited to host the Macadamia Innovation Challenge Finals than Byron Bay, one of Australia’s largest macadamia growing regions. The second Macadamia Innovation Challenge Finals have taken place on 4th April 2019, where the winners were announced. 

The Finals brought together macadamia growers, industry professionals, food manufacturers and food technology students from around the world to celebrate the ten shortlisted unique food product concepts, among a panel of industry specialists who together selected the winners.

Along with their creamy, rich and luxurious taste, the Australian grown nut is an ideal ingredient to inspire a range of new creations, while complementing almost any flavour and food pairing. This year’s participants were challenged to use the macadamia nut in an inventive creation, adopting either an Asian or Western flavour profile, within four target categories; confectionary, snacks, cereals and future foods. 

“This challenge is a great opportunity for global experts and students in the industry to come together in one place and appreciate the unique versatility of macadamias”, comments Lynne Ziehlke, Market Development Manager at the Australian Macadamia Society. 

“Inspiring food manufacturers from all over the world is something we are passionate about and the Innovation Challenge gives us the opportunity to offer industry experts the chance to learn more about where we grow the versatile and healthy ingredient, while inspiring the use of macadamias within their products.” 

“We are pleased with the success of the second Innovation Challenge, as all finalists, including students and professionals, really pushed their limits to create special food concepts with distinguished flavour profiles and tastes” add Ms Ziehlke. 

The entries were judged by four leading industry experts - Pam Brook, macadamia grower and co-founder of Brookfarm, Australia’s leading producer of gourmet macadamia cereal and snack products; Dr. Kiyoko Kubomura, President of Kubomura Food Advisory Consultants Japan; Ben Kolly, Technical and Product Manager at Haigh’s Chocolate; and Emma Welsh, the co-founder of Emma & Tom’s healthy drinks and snacks.

Within the student and professional categories respectively, Kirti Mittal who developed the Britty Macaddy Chikki, and Pridhuvi Thavaraj with her Purple Sesadamia Butter, 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, and team members; Hiromi Mimura, Momoka Osawa, Koya Ohashim, Kazuma Konno and Haruna Taniyama, won 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, based on excellence in four key criteria; taste, presentation of product and innovative use of macadamias.

The judges were impressed by the high standard of entries this year and credited all finalists on their inventive food creations.

“It is inspiring to see the industry continuing to grow. This year’s level of creativity in the Innovation Challenge was even higher than last years, as we challenged the best minds in the industry to come up with unique food concepts. It was truly a challenge for us as the judges to select the winners, as all finalists used innovation in their use of macadamias in their own way” said Pam Brook, Innovation Challenge judge and macadamia grower.

The Judging Event and winner announcement ceremony took place in Byron Bay on Thursday 4th April 2019.

Full list of the finalists and their innovations 


  • Britty Macaddy Chikki by Kirti Mittal - WINNER
  • Chickpea Macadamia Barfi by Mahfuj Begum
  • Savoury #WarOnWaste Macadamia Granola by Ellyn Bicknell
  • Wei Duoduo by Xiaorui Wu


  • Purple Sesadamia Butter by Pridhuvi Thavaraj - WINNER
  • Pavlova and Macadamia Nougat by Wayne Rieseberg 
  • Crispy Crunch Macadamia Karinto by Natsumi Otani


  • Soba and Macadamia Ration Cookie Bar by Hiromi Mimura, Momoka Osawa, Koya Ohashim Kazuma Konno and Haruna Taniyama - WINNER
  • Macadamia and Spirulina Energy Balls by Blake Palmer, Billy (Hin) Yeung Tsang, Qianhui Xu and Melitza Lafages-Vitalis
  • N&N Nuts by Pengjuan Li and Zhen Zhang

Full list of the prizes: 

Three major prizes were on offer, and all ten shortlisted entries received a trip to the judging event, with the opportunity to meet with and pitch their creations to some of Australia’s leading food innovators. 

Major Prizes:

Individual professional entry

A trip to attend Fi Europe 2019, from 2nd – 6th December 2019

Individual student entry

A trip to attend Fi Europe 2019, from 2nd – 6th December 2019

Student pair entry 

$5000 cash grant towards your studies or business endeavours to be shared equally between the winning team

Industry Choice:

A bespoke mentoring programme to help advance them in their studies or career.


About Australian Macadamias 

Australia is the world’s major producer of macadamia kernels and are Australia’s fourth largest horticultural export. There are more than 700 growers producing approximately 50,000 tonnes per year, with 70% of the crop exported to more than 40 countries.

Contact Details 

Lynne Ziehlke, Australian Macadamia Society 

E: [email protected]

Ph: 0488 032 248

This promotion is part of the Australian macadamia industry marketing program, which is funded by Hort Innovation using the macadamia industry levy.

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Supported by Hort Innovation and Macadamia Fund

This website has been partly funded by Hort Innovation, using the macadamia research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government.