Supply and Demand / May 14, 2018

Ready-to-Drink Coconut Imports Keep the Crop’s Demand Sky-High

The coconut oil obsession that labeled the monounsaturated fat as a cook-all, cure-all, kitchen-and-bathroom cabinet must-have has finally (thankfully) fallen to a more understandable level of interest.

The steady (but comparatively decreased) demand for the oil could potentially impact demand for coconuts themselves, if not for the versatile fruit’s many other uses.

Coconut nectar is a low-glycemic syrup substitute sourced from the sap of flowers of the coconut tree that is gaining popularity in culinary use, while the dried and granulated sap, coconut sugar, is becoming a baking darling for its use as a one-to-one sugar substitute and light brown sugar flavor.

While the sweeteners are consumed year-round, there’s one particular coconut product that gets a sudden jolt of popularity during the summer months: coconut water.

Coconut water is a high-electrolyte, low-sugar beverage that’s rapidly gaining popularity. Fitness-minded professionals use it as a sports drink replacement after workouts or in their morning smoothie.

Previously, fresh coconut water required opening a hard coconut, a process that required a skilled hand and a machete, or a specialized tool.

To capitalize on increasing demand while also giving consumers an easier-to-enjoy option, suppliers have recently sprung up to help source “water coconuts” to the US.

NuCoco is one such company, founded in 2016 by Michael Brown. The only supplier of fresh water coconuts in the US, they source their products from Belize and Mexico, in order to ship to Florida and Texas, respectively.

For Mexican growers who once worried about how to sell this furry fruit, the increased demand for their products has been a relief, although many are concerned they won’t be able to keep up.

“Even with more packers, we don’t have an excess,” states Mayra Romero of Fresco Produce LLC. Despite her concerns, she acknowledges that “The price of coconuts is more stable than other commodities.”

While good news for the market, even the potential of a short supply might concern some thirsty coconut fans.

But worry not! Central and South America aren’t the only sources for ready-to-drink coconuts. 

Miami-based Ecoripe Tropicals has begun importing organic Nam Hom coconuts prepped with a small, laser-cut hole that’s perfect for simply inserting a straw and enjoying on the beach (or backyard!)

So if you’re looking for a refreshing drink this summer, consider the coconut, and enjoy with ease.

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