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Reformatting Coconut

31 October 2019 by Food&HotelAsia

By: Asian Consumer Intelligence 

On the go formats update Southeast Asian flavour

As the number of products launched with coconut as the star ingredient continues to rise, industry players are driven to find new ways to leverage on this multi-tasking component with a health halo.

Photo source: https://www.capchavate.com/App/

Based on data from AI-driven foodservice trend enterprise tool Capchavate, although coconut water or coconut juice has experienced a noticeable decline over the past 2 years (especially with the arrival of new alternatives such as cactus water and other exotic botanical water variants), coconut in its oil, flour as well as shredded formats, has been experiencing an uptick.

Photo source: https://dangfoods.com/

More specifically, this keto-friendly ingredient that fits in with many free-from wellness trends, has applied itself as one of the key ingredients in functional, individually packaged, on-the-go snack bars – each one differentiating itself with a specific use and a uniquely targeted appeal.

Plant-based keto bars have been recently cropping up featuring the famously high-fat, low-carb nut. US brand Optimum Nutrition, a performance nutrition product manufacturer, introduced a new line of indulgent snack bars that provide non-meat eaters a protein boost with a decadently flavoured Chocolate Coconut cake bar made with toasted coconut, brown rice and pea protein, and semi-sweet chocolate. The plant-based, vegan offering is part of the Nature Bites line launched by the company in June 2019, along with three other variants of dark-chocolate coated bites.

This comes as no surprise as consumer research studies have found that coconut is most appealing to consumers in confectionary or sweet bakery form. Capchavate data analysis confirms this as well by identifying that the ingredient has been used more by manufacturers in treat format than as a main meal ingredient or within a beverage.

Dang Bar, also a keto-focused snack manufacturer, has created an entire range of whole food bars with an Asian-inspired palate. The Thai-American owned business produced three flavours in 2018 – Lemon Matcha, Almond Vanilla, and Chocolate Sea Salt, all made with sliced Thai coconut that provides the product a generous amount of plant-derived fat content and distinct flavour. Also packed with almonds, chia seeds and cocoa butter, the slightly-sweet pick-me-upper claims to sustain energy, increase mental focus and reduce appetite in one low-carb treat.

With the success of its initial line-up, the Bay Area-based company then announced an additional three variants in February 2019, delivering more of the East meets West taste profile to their budding range. Cardamom Chai, Toasted Coconut and Saigon Cinnamon Chocolate highlights not only the product’s Asian provenance but also reinforces the brand’s original heirloom recipe which calls for ingredients that complement their showcased fruit.

Another wellness trend, intermittent fasting or IF, has spawned products that contain coconut oil as a key component that can be consumed without breaking the dietary approach’s supposed benefits to the body.

Photo source: https://fastbar.com/

Nutri-technology pioneer L-Nutra launched Fast Bar as a snack option for those who want to “take advantage of the health benefits of fasting while still receiving nourishment.” Officially released in June 2019, the nutri-bar claims to effectively mimic the body’s state while deprived of food by utilizing coconut oil, which is known to have little to no effect on insulin or blood glucose levels. Combined with a variety of premium nuts and other high-quality components, Fast Bar promotes a “safer, more satisfying alternative for those who want to go on a fat-burning, anti-inflammatory and gut-improving detox through its science-based macro and micronutrient formulation,” according to a press release issued by the company.

Photo source: https://krumbledfoods.com/collections/beauty-bites/products/lemon-coconut-beauty-bites

Peeling away from health-related functions and moving on to a more beauty-inside-out application, another coconut-flavoured snack bar broke ground in May 2019 with a distinctive good-for-the-skin claim. Beauty Bites by Krumbled Foods has been making itself known in the nutraceutical and beauty industry as “Australia’s first and only collagen bars to combine 5 illuminating, and age-defying ingredients in a convenient, single daily dose.”

So what? Apart from softening consumer guilt in indulgent chocolate bars, adding an exotic creamy flavour, improving texture, boosting health benefits, not to mention adding a non-dairy appeal to many treats, coconut in its many forms have already been extolled for its numerous virtues. Manufacturers may consider seizing more opportunities for circular and sustainable practices in their business by using all parts of the tree such as leaves, husks and roots for packaging and other raw materials for production.

Find more similar reports on Asian Consumer Intelligence website here.