Our Story

About Us

Over 30 years ago, MAUNA LOA started perfecting Hawaii’s most sought after nut. It became a crunchy macadamia nut with a flavor all its own. Since then, MAUNA LOA has created a delightful variety of macadamia nut treats. Now, with over a dozen flavors to choose from, MAUNA LOA leads the way in providing one of the world’s tastiest macadamia nut selections.

KEY HISTORICAL HIGHLIGHTS OF MAUNA LOA

1881:

AUSTRALIAN TOURIST LOVES HAWAII
In 1881, the first macadamia tree came to Hawaii. It was planted on the Island of Hawaii at Kapulena near Waipi’o Valley, where it thrived.

1921:

THE FIRST HAWAII PLANTATION
By 1921 a far-seeing Massachusetts man, Ernest van Tassel, thought there might be commercial potential in growing macadamias. He planted the first Hawaiian macadamia plantation on government land near Honolulu.

1922:

UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII – 20 YEARS OF RESEARCH
The University of Hawaii embarked on 20 years of testing and research. Some 60,000 trees were observed and tested in a painstaking process of selection and grafting. Eventually nine strains were developed that could consistently produce a high quality nut.

1949:

THE ORIGINAL MAUNA LOA PLANTATION
The original plantation of what was to become Mauna Loa was established in 1949. The very first macadamia nut trees were planted early that year near Kea’au on the Hawaii Island (where we still make our home).

1956:

THE FIRST COMMERCIAL CROP
You have to be patient with macadamia trees. They take seven years to produce a commercial crop, and 15 to really pick up steam.

1976:

THE MAUNA LOA BRAND IS LAUNCHED
Macadamia nuts were marketed under the MAUNA LOA brand.

LOTS MORE TREES! – Mauna Loa began converting five old sugar plantations to macadamia plantations at the rate of 1000 acres a year.

1980s:

WE CRACK NUT – CRACKING PROBLEMS
We worked with scientists to find better ways to crack the world’s hardest nut. Our goal was to preserve more nut kernels whole. It worked, and we were able to supply the growing demand for premium, whole macadamia nuts.

MAUNA LOA reduces its carbon footprint by burning macadamia husks and waste kernel to generate the energy required to power its Hilo processing facility.

MAUNA LOA introduces a variety of new flavors:
• Kona Coffee Glazed – Premium roasted macadamia nuts glazed with sweetened, rich Kona Coffee
• Butter Candy Glazed – Premium roasted macadamia nuts coated in a rich, buttery candy glaze
• Honey Roasted – Premium roasted macadamia nuts roasted in rich, golden honey

• Chocolate Covered macadamia nuts “Mountains”- Premium roasted macadamia nuts, drenched in luscious creamy milk chocolate and tucked into a memorable, eye-catching gift box, creating the perfect gift of Hawaii

1984:

MAUNA LOA VOLCANO BLOWS HER TOP
In 1984 a big eruption made headline news. Our namesake volcano, Mauna Loa, became famous overnight.

1990s:

MAUNA LOA begins to dry roast its macadamia nuts & use sea salt

MAUNA LOA introduces Maui Onion Garlic. Premium roasted macadamia nuts seasoned with savory garlic and sweet Maui onion

MAUNA LOA introduces Milk Chocolate Panned Macadamia nuts. Premium roasted macadamia nuts smothered in rich milk chocolate

1998:

MAUNA LOA launches 1.15 oz. snack macs, a perfect way to enjoy macadamias anytime, anywhere.

1999:

MAUNA LOA launches its Stand Up Bag. Perfect for gift giving and an everyday snack.

2001:

MAUNA LOA introduces toffee macadamias. Premium roasted macadamia nuts sealed in a crisp toffee coating, covered in mouthwatering milk chocolate, and dusted
lightly with powdered sugar.

2004:

HERSHEY’S Buys a Taste of the Tropics by acquiring the MAUNA LOA brand.

2006:

MAUNA LOA introduces 3 new flavors:
• Wasabi Teriyaki – Premium roasted macadamia nuts seasoned with spicy wasabi and sweet teriyaki.

• Milk Chocolate Coconut – Premium roasted macadamia nuts covered in creamy white chocolate, sweet shredded
coconut and luscious milk chocolate.

• Dark Chocolate – Premium roasted MAUNA LOA macadamia nuts sinfully covered in dark, semi-sweet chocolate.

2010:

MAUNA LOA redesigns its Stand Up Bags to be aligned with its box chocolate, cans, and gift sets.

2011:

MAUNA LOA launches its new AS LOCAL AS YOU ARE advertising campaign. Lifestyle campaign positioning MAUNA LOA as an everyday snack to be enjoyed “wherever you are and whatever you are doing in Hawaii.”

MAUNA LOA refreshes the self-guided tour video at the Hilo processing plant.

2015:

HAWAIIAN HOST, INC. announced that its acquisition of Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation from The Hershey Company has been finalized. Mauna Loa joins Hawaiian Host, Inc as a subsidiary.

Hawai’i Magazine awards MAUNA LOA Reader’s Choice Awards for Best Made in Hawai’i Food or Snack.

TODAY: ONE OF THE LARGEST AND MOST EXPERIENCED PROCESSORS IN THE WORLD – Our primary nut processing plant is still in Hilo, Hawaii (come see our Visitor Center there when you’re on the Hawaii Island). Our attention to quality at every step of processing has earned Mauna Loa its premium reputation as the leader in the macadamia nut industry.