Saturday, July 12, 2014

Coconut Water Matures As North American Staple Item Finally

Preview Coconut Water Hype is Big Business Glossing Over the Simple and Natural The Time Has Come for Coconut Water, But Before Buying the Hype You Might Want to Learn the Basics Which Are Not Really a Secret Lex Loeb Contributor Network . My first introduction to Coconut water came at a remote tropical beach in Mexico years ago. Large Green coconuts were stacked under a grass hut on the beach stacked in formation like cannon balls. There was a young kid with a big long machete watching over the coconuts. For a couple of pesos the kid would takes a swing at the coconut and lops off the top which is mostly green coconut fiber. Then he takes another swing at it to open the harder interior shell, sticks a straw in it and hands it to customer who sits on the beach and drinks the contents. The same green coconuts on the beach business is a world wide phenomenon in the tropics. One can have green coconut juice in Thailand, Costa Rica, Brazil and Africa. There are different varieties of coconuts used depending on the locality. The juice is sweet but not nearly as sweet soft drinks. The natural direct from the coconut juice varies in how sweet it and some coconuts are picked younger than others. The Juice does not seem to be as sweet as apple juice and it does not necessarily taste like roasted mature coconut a taste that more Americans are familiar with. In many countries the coconut water is a waste product of the coconut industry or a mere by product. Now that American Marketing Wizards have found this to be the next big thing all hype is fair game for the American Audience. The un-secret of the coconut is that it has been on store shelves world wide for a very long time. In Costa Rica one can buy a pasteurized refrigerated version in what is essentially a milk carton for less than the cost of milk. In most Asian country and Mexico it is available in steel cans with pull tabs but in these cases it is overly sweetened with cane sugar. These cans come in varieties that are plane juice or have small fakes of the young coconut floating in them. It is the original bubble tea so it seems. One variety is from the same young coconut roasted. Sugar added canned varieties are available in the US at most Asian super markets sometimes refrigerated for on the go ready to drink purchases. The same stores also carry the real thing in a stripped down fresh coconut ready to be pierced to get a straw inside at home. These only cost around $1-$1.50 each and they are as good as coconut water gets except you have to figure out how to make the hole in it once you get home. You also have to be careful that the ones you buy are still fresh and have not fermented because some of the stores do continue to sell them at a lower price once they enter the fermentation phase. The best ones seem to come with a label from the country of origin and they are covered in cellophane and kept refrigerated at the store. I usually get mine for around $1.29 each. The way I open them is to get a Philip's screw driver and a hammer and I hammer the screw driver into the uppermost part of the coconut and then once it pieces though the harder inner shell I turn it to make the hole big enough to easily slip the straw in. The coconut fiber wants to fill the hole once pierced so it needs to be pushed out of the way. These seem best consumed cold from the refrigerator. Then once I have drained the whole thing though my drinking straw I have discovered I can refill the original coconut a couple of extra times and refrigerate it again for later consumption. There is a trick to refilling the coconut you can figure out for yourself because it is hard to explain other than to say I drip the water into it or though the straw. It then takes time for the new water to be infused with the coconut water taste. Each time it is refilled it comes out less sweet than the first but it still a satisfying drink. one can get in most Asian grocery stores. It is possible to get pre-machete unopened fresh green coconuts in many Asian stores for $1 to $1.50 each depending on the location. So What is all the hype about in the market place? The companies marketing it want to charge as high a premium as possible even though you can just bypass them and get them at your local Asian super market at least here on the West Coast. What the founders of the companies noticed is that young coconut water is less sweet and more balanced tasting than a lot of the concoction drinks that are popular in this country. It is also a proven product that already is available in most of the world at least in the tropics. Everyone now is used to bananas and mangoes but there was a time when these could be sold at a larger premium as novelties. What is going on with coconut juice not to name the names of the big players is unprecedented. They are hyping what is flavored water as the natural version of beverage perfection, which it may be, and as a vitamin and mineral rich substance that improves health , well being, invigorates sex life and does not make you fat because it contains less carbohydrates in the 100% no sugar added juice form. Then they add the ions and electrolytes or find them in the natural item. Pasteurization for shelf life and general safety probably is the same UV machine required to process apple juice in this country. Then comes the fancy packaging which happens to be the same sort of packaging you might find it on store shelves already in other countries and to the package the cute sounding name of the brand and then you have the American version which is then hard to find anywhere else to begin with than the most trendy expensive health food stores and not yet in more average super markets. I am sure the products are good if not great because they are coconut juice from the young green coconuts that taste so good but they do sell at premium prices that make the trendiest natural food store magic money machines for their owners. Some of the product may have enhancements and I fear they will be adding "100% pure cane juice" instead of the exact same thing otherwise called sugar in some of the products. If you want that you can get the Thai or Mexican version in the steel cans and it is usually available at Walmart in the Mexican food section ...that is if you like it way too sweet. Before I knew the alternative from the fresh refrigerated coconuts I would buy that at Walmart. Another un-secret of coconut water is that it can contain fat. If coconut meat pulp from the young or roasted coconut is added the fat content becomes significant. Most of the ready made drinks have below 2% fat in them. (or daily dietary fat allowance per serving ...not per volume?) Coconut fat is not necessarily good for you to drink. The coconut flakes found in some version are nice because you find yourself chewing those tiny fakes while drinking. It is possible to slurp this with the straw from the interior of the fresh coconut itself. The meat in the young coconut is just is very thin compared to the fatter fleshy white of an older coconut some times less than a 16th of an inch thick and very soft compared to firm more developed coconut meat. The big hype exploded into a bidding war for marketing companies by the giants in the beverage industry. It turns out that those entrepreneurs developing coconut water marketing companies were originally trying to Lure beverage giants to come in and buy their operations at large premium prices. Some of the larger companies may be developing their own versions of coconut water for mass distribution but out of the corner of their big corporate octopus eyes they are watching the small private labels to see which gains market share and supply Chanel's. Sales of coconut water may have exploded but not nearly as much as the hype so far. The exploding sales still have not captured a main stream customer base yet. The whole American coconut water marketing thesis is still in it's infancy and that is if it does not turn into a fad that fizzles at some point. The reason coconut water may be new to The USA might because it never was a drink favored by American taste? I can see why so many are betting on young coconut water. Before the hype I was just hoping I could find a super market with a fresh brand from any tropical country in a milk carton at a price less than the cost of milk with no sugar added because I am sick of super saturated sugar water drinks like many other American people. Coconut water has the habit of being a waste by product in many countries that produce various products from the coconut including fats and oils some used in soap and the fiber which is used still in making mattresses. Coconuts as a commodity are a very abundant product of large farming operations in the tropics particularly when it comes to harvesting the fats and oil which is the basis of very large world wide economy. Those tend to be the more mature coconuts and not the younger green ones. So for those who complain about the over exploitation of corn to make products like corn syrup the exploitation of the coconut to make major trans continental export market for the young coconut water is a major agricultural industrial venture. The good thing about shipping water overseas is that it can be a substitute of ballast in ships. If it were possible for a ship to use Perrier water or Evan spring water as ballast instead of river or sea water which is necessary to to stabilize a ship in the water so it does not tip over than the actual cost of shipping the product can be free in the sense that other items being shipped pay for the ballast on board the ship already. There is something addictive about coconut water and that is good for the whole coconut water marketing thesis. The question is if people react as take it or leave it or if it is just an unsustainable fad at the moment? Those of us who prefer the taste and convince to the hype know the un secret to getting it directly from the coconut right here in the USA without the premium price. The best of the hype so far is the story being told that in some third world tropical countries when people get sick instead of getting Chicken soup to make them feel better they are given coconut water and the next greatest story is the one about it being nature's version of Viagra but only when it comes in the most elaborate supermarket packaging. And talking about the packaging, the designers full well know that the type they are using is not likely subject to a bottle return deposit which makes it an even better product for marketing purposes. . Close

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