According to a recent report by data analysts IRI, the coconut market is continuing to boom. Coconut water sales were up 64% to the week ending 26 March this year and coconut oil sales saw a massive increase of 122%.
But for product developers and food manufacturers looking to capitalise on the coconut trend, the report also pointed out that just having a coconut flavour in your product isn’t enough to draw in consumers, exampling the fact that coconut-flavoured yogurt sales were down 4.4%.
Sales are flying however for brands such as CoYo and Koko, dairy free alternatives made from coconut milk, where “coconut” offers more than just a flavour.
Vicky Henley, director of The Coconut Company, gives her views on how manufacturers can best capitalise on the coconut trend.
BY VICKY HENLEY,
DIRECTOR, THE COCONUT COMPANY
I think it’s clear that consumer choices are being driven by a desire for genuine health benefits, which is why products that are simply flavoured with coconut aren’t seeing the sales growth of those products which are utilising coconut for its other properties, whether that be offer a dairy-free alternative or a healthier cooking oil.
One of the huge plusses of coconut ingredients is that they’re so easy to incorporate into food manufacturing. Our oils are flying out the door, both our organic cold-pressed virgin oil and our organic refined oil, which is better suited to manufacturing at higher temperatures and allows for coconut oil benefits to be added to a formula without necessarily the taste. But whilst we still see the oils as a big growth area, most exciting to us, in respect to NPD, is where our products not only add coconut to the ingredients list, but also allow manufacturers to meet other consumer health demands.
The free-from aspect of coconut is huge. Combine the growth of coconut with the 13% growth in free-from predicted this year and you’re onto a winner. Coconut milk and cream are our best selling products to manufacturers in this area, as simple replacements for dairy, and our vegan coconut milk powder is proving particularly popular, especially for manufacturers in the confectionery, snack and granola sectors.
Refined sugar is still public enemy number one and according to a Mintel report, one in three (35%) adults would welcome more food products which use naturally sourced sweeteners. Again this offers a great opportunity for manufacturers to combine two consumer demands to create a winning formulation.
It’s clear that coconut products are here to stay and will appeal to food manufacturers looking for added USPs long after the public have forgotten that Rihanna drank coconut water.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020