Macadamia nuts are the most expensive nuts in the world. Considered a high-quality dessert nut because of its rich, buttery flavor, macadamia nuts are a popular treat and a trendy import in
countries like China and the United States. A one pound bag can cost around $25, which is almost twice as much
as other nuts, like almonds, and they’ve been breaking
price records year after year. But why are macadamia nuts so expensive? The main reason is the
slow harvesting process. While there are 10 species
of macadamia trees, only two produce the pricey nuts, and it takes seven to
10 years for the trees to even begin growing the nuts. The flowering trees originated
in Northeastern Australia, and the nuts were eaten by the
Australian aboriginal people. They called the trees “Kindal Kindal,” but British colonists eventually
renamed them macadamia, after Dr. John Macadam. Despite originating in Australia, macadamia trees were first
commercially grown in Hawaii. Hawaii has the perfect
climate for the trees. They need lots of rain, rich soil, and warm weather to thrive, which means regions that
don’t meet those requirements have to import macadamia
nuts all the way from places like Hawaii, South Africa,
Latin America, or Australia. And because it takes the trees anywhere from four to
six months to flower, the nuts all mature at
different times of the year. They’re only harvested
five to six times a year, typically by hand. Their thick shell, often
removed before sale, makes it difficult to tell the ripe nuts from the unripe ones, making
the harvesting process more work-intensive and costly. Macadamias have become
increasingly popular because of their high fat content. With 20.9 grams of fat per pound, they contain more fat than any other nut, which is why people used to think macadamia nuts were unhealthy. In reality, the majority of that fat is 100% cholesterol free,
and contains palmitoleic acid which can improve your metabolism and help your body maintain
healthy levels of insulin. Each nut is made up of
80% oil and 4% sugar. The high fat and low sugar content makes macadamia nuts ideal
for many healthy eating and weight loss programs,
including the keto diet, which cuts carbs while
emphasizing good fats. Last year, the price of
macadamias broke records again. In Hawaii, nut-in-shell
macadamias started the season with their highest net farm value ever, at 100 cents per pound, and ended the season
with a new record high of 110 cents per pound. The farm value on Hawaii’s macadamia crops is estimated to be worth $53.9 million. Meanwhile, countries like China, who import them on a massive scale, are now working on
growing their own harvest because of how valuable the nuts are. However, for the time being, the demand for macadamia
nuts outpaces the supply, which drives up prices. But the global macadamia
supply is expected to increase, thanks to countries like China
planting macadamia trees. Now, China is set to produce half of the global macadamia crop by 2022. Exporters worry that a bubble in the global macadamia
industry is about to burst. If that happens, macadamia
nuts may no longer be the most expensive nuts in the world.