Livestreaming event attracts thousands of Chinese consumers to Australian macadamia exporter

Researchers from The University of Adelaide teamed up with Griffith University to conduct a buyer virtual engagement study for Chinese consumers at Macadamias Australia in Bundaberg.

Over 43,000 participants logged in to the ninety-minute live-streaming event to watch Chinese social media and radio personality, Eric Ho, walk through the orchards, the visitor experiences, the on-site café, and the processing facility.

Eric Ho interviewing Janelle Gerry in the Macadamias Australia orchards

With the help of Macadamias Australia Director, Janelle Gerry, Eric spoke to the audience about Australia’s native nut, the organisation’s value-added range, the macadamia industry, the Steinhardt family’s multi-generational farming history, and how the macadamias go from tree to table in their vertically integrated, carbon-negative business.

Dr Di Zeng and Associate Professor Alec Zuo from The University of Adelaide organised the activity as part of a larger project, awarded under the Package Assisting Small Exporters (PASE) scheme through the Commonwealth Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Forestry (DAFF).

“The project aims to strengthen small-scale agricultural exports to China by evaluating two innovative marketing channels,” Associate Professor Zuo said.

“At the end of this activity, participants were given a cash incentive to complete a survey. We’ll study how many participants choose to spend the incentive on the advertised product and evaluate the impacts of a virtual agritourism event on stimulating exports to China.

Janelle Gerry and Eric Ho live-streaming from the Macadamias Australia processing facility

“The project will also assess the feasibility of promoting premium Australian food and beverage products as corporate gifts in the fast-growing gift market in China, helping small exporters enter the Chinese market using an alternative channel.”

Griffith’s agribusiness expert, Associate Professor Robin E Roberts, collaborated with The University of Adelaide on the project.

“China is Australia’s top market for agricultural exports, yet the benefits to small-scale exporters are still limited,” Associate Professor Roberts said.

“Agritourism relies heavily on on-site experiences to engage consumers but given the current travel restrictions we’ve had to find more creative ways to attract the Chinese market.”

The team intend to host a similar activity at a second Australian agritourism site later this year. The project’s findings will be presented to key stakeholders at the end of project workshop in the first half of 2023.