Celebrating Innovations Focus | Chestnut Brae

  • 03/02/2020

We are excited to bring to you excerpts from Food Innovation Australia Limited's (FIAL) latest edition of Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations book. The FIAL team searched far and wide to find some of the best innovations in the country — from small businesses to multinationals, the new 2019 book edition showcases 50 innovations from across the whole value chain.

: Chestnut Brae | Adding Value to Sweet Chestnuts | From peeled nuts to chestnut ale

Challenge: The commercial chestnut industry was established in Australia in the 1970s. Despite there being about 300 chestnut growers across Australia, chestnuts do not enjoy the same profile and demand as other nuts, and most consumers have no idea how nutritious they are, let alone how to incorporate them into their diets.

In 2013, Linda and John Stanley purchased their 70-acre chestnut farm, Chestnut Brae, in Nannup in the south-west region of Western Australia. They had a plan to create a sustainable, self-sufficient farm producing a range of chestnut products using regenerative agriculture. In the early days, their focus was on selling nuts to the markets. However, this generated little return for their efforts and they recognised that they would have to diversify and look to overseas markets to gain the knowledge they needed to evolve their property into a viable farming enterprise

Solution: Linda and John travelled the world to learn more about the chestnut industry. They studied what growers and manufacturers were doing, how chestnuts were marketed and what technologies were being used. In Italy and France they discovered that chestnuts are peeled and milled, whereas nuts in Australia are generally sold in their shell. The pathway was clear — the Stanleys needed to value-add to their fresh chestnuts to increase consumers’ awareness of their versatility and nutritional benefits. It was in South Korea that they found a peeling machine that processes medium-sized sweet chestnuts that can then be used to produce a range of value-add products.

Due to growing worldwide demand for gluten-free baking products and non-wheat flours, Linda and John Stanley decided to tap into this trend by producing chestnut flour. With most nut flours imported into Australia, they saw an opportunity to not only supply the Australian market, but also markets across Asia.

Want to hear more about Chestnut Brae and other great Australian food and Agribusiness Innovations? Get your copy of the 4th edition of the Celebrating Australian Food and Agribusiness Innovations book HERE.