“Sales of coconut water is slated to grow from US$1.36 billion market in 2014 to US$4 billion in 2019. Leading global brand manufacturers such as the Coca Cola Co., Pepsi Co. and Red Bull GmbH, as well as niche players such as Vita Coco have driven product and market development.” (Technavio, 2015).
Coconuts have long been a tropical agricultural product exploited principally for the oil pressed out of copra, the dried kernel of the nut. However, coconut oil was characterized as “bad” in the 1970s for being high in saturated fat and fell out of vogue. Other vegetable oils such as canola, rapeseed, soybean, and castor oil displaced coconut oil. Accordingly, copra prices declined and production fell as fewer investments were made in coconut plantations. Plantations aged, pests and diseases took hold, many trees fell during hurricanes, and productivity declined. Only coconut water was widely commercialized but largely limited to local markets because of its perishability and limited investment in preservation and packaging technologies.
Employees of Roosters Pomeroon Coconut Company Offering Product – Guyana Coconut Festival Sat. 22nd, 2016
The coconut, a drupe over 4,000 years old, has been called the “tree of life” because there are thirty-six known applications and in turn sixty-seven different uses alone just for coconut oil, one of its byproducts. Everything from this tree can be used–the nuts, the water, the trunk, the husks, the roots, and the fronds.
The traditional global value chain is largely divided into three separate strands:
(1) coconut food chain (edible meat, milk, flour, sugar, wine, vinegar, toddy);
(2) coconut water chain; and
(3) coconut oil used as a feedstock for manufacturing oleochemicals which in turn can be processed for use as cooking oils, lubricants, cosmetics, biofuels, soaps, and pharmaceuticals.