But Brandon, who is the founder of House of Macadamias (HOM), could not have imagined that his vision to make macadamias a household product in America, would soon be endorsed by some of the biggest American YouTubers like Mr Beast, and thought leaders like Tim Ferriss and Joe Rogan. But how does a small city boy end up with a globally distributed product? Six years ago, Brandon pulled up his roots in South Africa to go work in the tech sector in the United States. Being business oriented, he soon became aware that macadamias weren’t easy to find in America and that they were not positioned as a top product either.
“Macadamias were three times the price we paid for them in SA, that was if you could get any. I learnt that only one percent of nuts sold in America were macs. On the flipside, I was aware that we have some of the best farmers in the world and many of them had started growing macadamias. When we became the biggest grower of macadamias in the world, for the first time it was possible to make macadamias a mainstream product. I like to joke we are best in the world at only two things. Rugby and growing macadamias,” Brandon explains.
Coming from a legacy of farmers and agriculture, Brandon realised that there was an opportunity to create a new demand through diversification of the product. “In the past, the macadamia industry never had to advertise or market itself as there was always limited supply. Now it makes sense to create a brand dedicated to showing the world how versatile and healthy this nut actually is. Our most important pillar is our farmers. We are lucky to have partnered with some of the best in the form of Golden Macadamias which is made up of over 90 farmers. They all have a shared interest in the brand and have been incredibly supportive. None of this would be possible without them,” Brandon emphasises, mentioning his particular gratitude to the board of directors, the chairman and forward thinkers like Nico van Schalkwyk. Golden Macadamias understands that the new generation millennial consumer wants to know exactly what they are eating and where it comes from. The company has built the biggest macadamia factory globally, with cutting edge technology and has a reputation for some of the best quality macadamias in the world.
“Then we also have to acknowledge the great folks at Green Farms who have helped us with product innovation. Knowing our growth as a company directly supports farmers and their communities is a major driving force for our whole team at House of Macs,” Brandon says.
Golden Macadamias and Green Farms have decades of experience with macadamias and mentored HOM since the start. They have shared a passion for product innovation and, together, have developed one-of-a-kind macadamia snacks that have zero sugar and are vegan, keto and paleo. Rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and rare nutrients like Omega 7s, health professionals have sung the nuts’ praises for years.
The HOM range includes roasted macs with, amongst others, Namibian salt and pepper, zesty salsa and onion flavours. Their dipped macadamia range includes chocolate, white chocolate and white raspberry chocolate snacks while their assorted protein bars have become an alternative snack for the health-conscious market. HOM’s macadamia butter comes in natural, sea salt, white chocolate and chocolate flavours. The cold-pressed, Extra Virgin macadamia oil is ideal for salads and cooking, given its high smoke point.
Special attention has been given to the design of the packaging to compliment the product that is currently produced in Johannesburg. “Our macadamias are transported from the Lowveld to Johannesburg where the production takes place and then we ship our products to America. We are in the process of moving over some production to the USA as sales have increased and we need a shorter supply chain,” Brandon explains.
“To create any trend, word of mouth is critical and consumers respond to mimetic desire which is created by influencers. It’s been a privilege to work with a few but in particular Dan Mace, who is a filmmaker and has a YouTube channel with 835k subscribers. He has been incredibly helpful to us in navigating this creator-driven economy. Dan is one of South Africa’s great talents, recognised globally for his skills and he recently joined our team and launched his own custom product, the Bru Bar. He is the chief creative officer at Beast Philanthropy where he and Darren Margolias (also South African) are helping those in need all around the world on a huge scale. Thanks to Darren, we were afforded the honour of playing a small part in saving a dog shelter in Thailand with the Beast Philanthropy team. I highly encourage you to check out their YouTube channel, which now has 19 million subscribers and is growing fast.”
Someone else who is singing HOM’s praises is tech entrepreneur and founder of Blueprint, Bryan Johnson, who is a significant advocate of macadamias. Johnson is well known for breaking records in the longevity field, following a rigid lifestyle to reduce his epigenetic age. His fascinating story includes a regime of laser treatments, sleep, exercise and eating routines and he has spent more than $4 million to develop his life-extension system called Blueprint, which he shares freely with the public.
Part of this routine is eating nutty pudding daily. Its ingredients include macadamia nut milk and macadamias, with Johnson recommending HOM in the diet plan. The dedicated HOM team is working hard at meeting the increasing demand as its market reach expands. When Saffa Mag spoke to Brandon, he was in London, looking after market expansion in Britain. “South Africans know how healthy macadamias are for you, we now want the rest of the world to experience just how good these nuts are!” Brandon concludes.