Nutritional Outlook

Nutritional Outlook, June 2018

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■ NUTRITIONAL OUTLOOK 42 JUNE 2018 Food & Beverage Trends Anker points to coconuts' light sweetness as the ideal f avor prof le for a granola base, as it pairs well with sweeteners like maple syrup and honey as well as other granola ingredients like nuts, seeds, and chocolate. He notes that while classic granola has con- tained coconut since the 1970s, his compa- ny's "coconola" is the f rst granola to use co- conut chips as a base. Anker notes that his product exists in a dual space. Coconut is part of GrandyOats' unique selling proposition, but he considers coconola to be f rst and foremost a granola product. "When you do a blend, you have to market it dif erently than you would a sin- gle-origin product. With coconut water, for example, it's all about the origin of the coco- nut. But with a blend, you're marketing the whole product: a paleo, grain-free granola with a nice blend of organic ingredients that aren't overly sweet." Anker says that using coconut as a base also yields a variety of cost benef ts. Non- grain granola bases tend to be expensive, he says, but coconut is quite af ordable and nu- tritionally dense. Anker says he expects the coconut market to grow signif cantly over the next year. "I've been in the market for 20 years, and I've seen trends come and go. T e one that has been the most consistent is coconut." We All Scream for Coconut It's not just the gluten-free market that's capturing coconut brands' imagination. T e alternative-dairy market is also seeing an in- f ux of coconut products. Australia-based product manufacturer COYO (Yandina, Queensland) is meeting de- mands for vegan yogurts and ice creams with dairy treats made from natural organic coco- nut milk. COYO "National Sales Jedi" Aaron Wallace (Indianapolis, IN) says that COYO is capitalizing on an increasing demand for dairy-free yogurt. "People are moving away from dairy products," Wallace explains. "I used to work for a dairy company before I joined COYO. Dairy products are in decline across the board because people are learning about the benef ts of plant-based alternatives like coconut yogurt." Wallace says consumers are becoming more conscious about how their bodies respond to various foods, leading them to try alternative products to determine what works best for them. In that quest for health- ier alternatives, he says, coconut is a prime choice. "Coconut is a great superfood that you can use in a variety of ways. T e drink category def nitely propelled it into the mainstream, with coconut water being rich in MCTs and electrolytes. Obviously, that means there are now more competitors. But consumers want to see new things, and more people are f nd- ing out that you don't have to sacrif ce taste with some of these alternatives." Wallace says that coconut's growing pop- ularity will pose challenges for brands that will be forced to dif erentiate themselves in more ways. He also notes that ethical sourc- ing will become increasingly dif cult, as there are a f nite number of coconut groves in existence. Wallace adds that COYO is solving the marketing challenge with a grass- roots movement that leverages connections with nutritionists and independent grocers to tell the COYO story. Coconut Chips: A Healthy Junk-Food Alternative for Consumers with Food Sensitivities Coconut's presence in the snack foods cat- egory extends beyond health-conscious options like granola. In fact, coconut is now revolutionizing the "junk food" category with healthier innovations like coconut chips. Mitch Compton, cofounder of Coconut Beach (Bonita, CA), says that the coco- nut-based snack space is just now starting to see growth, with a few f rst movers work- ing to drive consumer adoption. "Coconut snacks are very dif erent from coconut water," Compton explains. "We sell coconut chips (made from coconut copra), which is quite unique in this space. T ere's a lot of runway for coconut snacks, but it'll involve getting people to try the products. We need a trial in the snack area to hook people." Coconut Beach's strategy involves capitaliz- ing on the popularity of other coconut verti- cals in order to introduce consumers already familiar with coconut to increasingly diverse products. Basically, Compton says, driving consumer adoption involves leveraging the existing coconut products industry. Says Compton: "Coconuts are weird; people usual- ly love them or hate them. But someone who likes coconut water is more likely to gravitate toward trying other coconut products like co- conut chips." Compton says that coconut snacks like coconut chips also of er potential for mak- ing inroads into the allergy-conscious foods market. Coconuts aren't actually nuts, he says, which means coconut chips and similar products are ideal for those with nut allergies and other food sensitivities. "My wife has celiac disease, and my middle daughter has a nut allergy. But coconuts are processed without wheat, and the coconut isn't actually a nut, so both my wife and my daughter can eat coconut chips," he says. Compton says that the coconut category will eventually reach a point of market satu- ration, resulting in less innovation. But right now, he says, coconut products are an excel- lent category for new brands to experiment with, and there's lots of room for growth. PHOTO FROM COYO PHOTO FROM COCONUT BEACH

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