Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, June 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 40 JUNE 2018 C oconut products have been on the market for some time, as evidenced by the mainstream adoption of ev- eryday products like coconut oil and coco- nut water. But whereas products that have been on the market for quite a while can often become stale and incapable of innova- tion, coconut is still a major source of inspi- ration for a variety of brands. Manufacturers are innovating increasingly creative and un- usual coconut products, satisfying a growing consumer appetite for coconut. Margaret Gomes of ingredient supplier NP Nutra (Gardena, CA) says that coconut product sales have skyrocketed in the last de- cade, growing from essentially zero to USD $612.5 million since the early 2000s. "It's easy to understand why coconut products are so popular," Gomes says. "Coconut is one of na- ture's perfect foods—easily digested and rich in nutrients like vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and cytokines. It's also a very versatile product, with both the coconut meat and water used in a multitude of functional food and beverage applications." Gomes notes that the diversif cation of the coconut product market is the result of both consumer demand and supplier inno- vation, with no end in sight to the market's expansion. "You name it; we're seeing it. T e focus has shifted. We're not just talking about innovative new products; we're talking about new delivery formats. Nutrient-infused ener- gy pods, gels, chews, sprays, blends—the sky is the limit right now. Anything with coconut in it has a good chance of selling." So, how are today's innovators determin- ing which coconut path to follow? Ahead, we take a look at brands that have found success through experimentation. Coconut Granola for the Gluten-Free On its face, gluten-free granola sounds like an oxymoron. Granola's base ingredient, oats, are by def nition rich in gluten. But the team at GrandyOats (Hiram, ME) has found a tasty, gluten-free granola alternative made with a coconut base. GrandyOats' "Chief Granola Of cer" Aar- on Anker says that coconut granola is gain- ing popularity thanks to two attributes: its taste and its nutritional prof le. Says Anker: "T e market has been asking for a grain-free granola, so we started playing around with dif erent varieties. We wanted something with similar nutritional benef ts—not just f ller—that also tastes good. T e vast major- ity of people like coconut, and coconut con- tains heart-healthy oils. It's a great product for our purposes." CREATIVITY and the Coconut The coconut market is evidence that with the right product development strategy, companies can capitalize on the popularity of existing products to get consumers to try new products. BY MIKE STRAUS Food & Beverage Trends PHOTO FROM GRANDYOATS ISTOCKPHOTO.COM/TOMBOY2290

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