NEW LINES of 'wonder' peanuts, like high oleic peanuts, are the key to Australia maintaining its quality edge, according to Kevin Norman, technical manager with the Peanut Company of Australia (PCA).
PCA, the nation's biggest buyer and processor of peanuts, collaborates with the Queensland Department of Primary Industries peanut-breeding program, supported by growers and the Federal Government through the GRDC. PCA also runs its own program to access the world's best peanut lines.
"Australia is the only country in the world which is moving towards mainly producing high oleic peanuts, even though they were released in the United States as the new wonder peanut," Mr Norman said.
"High oleic peanuts retain their freshness, and that crunchy, crisp taste everyone wants, for nine months, perhaps even a full year. As well, high oleic peanuts beat olive oil in health benefits, like lowering cholesterol."
According to Mr Norman, a range of other niche peanut markets and product areas are in the offing. "Possibilities for the future include a low-fat peanut, peanuts for people with allergies, and peanuts with novel DNA — extra vitamins and pharmaceutical benefits achieved through genetic modification."
Quality niche market
While Australia is still a very small player (50,000 tonnes per year) in world peanut production, Mr Norman said, "our peanuts are ahead in the areas of taste, flavour and freedom from pesticides, toxins and heavy metals.
"But while we have the best quality peanuts in the world, and we can command a premium for them, we need to keep building on that, because China and Argentina in particular are continually improving their quality."
Contact: Mr Kevin Norman 07 4162 6311