Strategic advice for the food and beverage industry

Nuts for coconut

Healthy. Hydration. Non-dairy. Malibu. These are some of the words that came up when we asked Millennials what they think of when they hear the word “coconut”.

In a series of focus groups, we asked people aged 24-33 from 13 countries for their opinions on coconut, and we got them to taste coconut-based milks, yoghurts, snacks and ice cream. Why? Because coconut is trendy, and it connects to two of the biggest key trends in the food and beverage market: plant-based and free-from.

Coconut has surged in popularity, driven by growing scientific interest, media attention, consumer interest and product innovation.

Between 2010 and 2016:
• the number of products launched with coconut grew by 318%
• the number of scientific studies on coconut grew by 28%
• there was a clear increase in Google searches using terms such as ‘coconut healthy’.

According to Mei Hin Liew, general manager of the Soya, Tea and Coconut Centre at Tetra Pak, consumers like the versatility and numerous health benefits of coconut.

And most of the people in our focus groups said they like the taste of coconut. Many were surprised by the good taste of the products they tried. The milks and the ice cream were especially popular – although non-dairy coconut yoghurt wasn’t so well-liked.

Our groups largely agreed that coconut was a naturally healthy ingredient, but they weren’t sure why.

The results of our consumer research highlighted some things that companies launching a product featuring coconut should do, to be successful:

1. Leverage the naturally healthy message
2. Use social media to communicate the potential benefits of coconut – but keep it simple
3. Be prepared to take a clear stance on the benefits/drawbacks of saturated fat in coconut
4. Target coconut-based dairy alternatives at a wider audience than just dairy-avoiders, using taste as a benefit
5. Coconut-based yoghurts need to be improved, particularly in relation to flavour and texture
6. Combine coconut with other flavours (preferably sweet ones)

With these pointers, smart companies may well be able to crack the coconut code.


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Posted in Editorial, Mainsite

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