Crazy for coconut water: Singapore’s Cocoloco emphasises raw and natural with its pink offering
Cocoloco’s parent company is Siam Coconut Pte Ltd, a well-known supplier of Thai coconuts for big food service outlets such as Jumbo Seafood and Thai Express.
Having been in the coconut industry for over 18 years, the family-run business was revitalised after Kelvin Ngian, whose father owns the company, came in with fresh perspective.
“There was a sudden [surge in] interest in packaged coconut water when I joined the company about seven years back, [but] after trying all the options [available], I felt like none of them tasted like the actual thing,” Ngian, who is also General Manager of Siam Coconut, told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“So [my approach] to creating the next best thing to an actual coconut, [which was also the easiest], to simply empty the coconut into a bottle [and sell it].”
He added that the ‘purist’ approach to coconut water not only worked, but keeping things pure and raw added the appeal for consumers.
“So that’s how Cocoloco was born – [Loco is] a word play on both local and crazy,” he explained.
As for the aesthetic aspect of the product, being that it is a pretty pink in colour, Ngian claimed this to be a 100% natural occurrence.
“That is probably the most asked question of all – a lot of people think we add colouring or flavouring,” he said.
“But truth be told, we add absolutely nothing to our coconut water.
“Cocoloco turns pink because of a natural reaction between light and a natural antioxidant called polyphenols found in coconut water. And because we are raw (meaning we don’t cook our coconut water), these polyphenols react with light and turn pink naturally.”
All of Cocoloco’s coconuts come from Thailand, and the pink coconut water is currently only available in Singapore.
“We are targeting further regional expansion within the next five years,” said Ngian.
Intelligence agency Arizton has predicted that the global coconut water market will surpass the US$8.3 billion mark by 2023, with a CAGR of 25% across the six years from 2017 to 2023.
The Asia Pacific region is expected to lead globally in terms of packaged coconut water consumption, particularly in India, China, Indonesia and Australia.
The pink bottled coconut water is currently available at products are available at Cold Storage and NTUC supermarkets, online at Redmart and Goodsome, specialty food store Little Farms and other selected F&B retailers.
Products and demand
Responding to queries about local demand for products such as Cocoloco’s, Ngian admitted that selling coconuts back to a tropical country is a ‘tricky’ process.
“Because we come from a tropical country where fresh fruits are readily available, it’s always a challenge to sell a ‘processed’ fruit juice back to the community,” he said.
“I feel that the local market is tricky, [but] I believe the consumers are evolving, people are willing to pay a bit more for convenience and for quality.”
In terms of keeping up with current trends, he added that Cocoloco was ‘on the right track’, as consumers are becoming more conscious of what they eat and use.
“Organic, sustainable, clean labelled products are the future.”
Moving forward, Ngian and his team are developing a dairy-free vegan coconut ice cream range, to expand on the Cocoloco product range.