Coconut water is a current health food phenomenon that has reached the dizzy heights of nutrition super-stardom due to its superior low-fat and rehydrating properties.
But just where has it been hiding for all of these years and, more importantly, what actually is it?
Coconut Water is in reality not extracted from those brown, hairy coconuts of fairground fame, but actually harvested from the young, green coconut. It is the clear liquid that ultimately ripens in to the white flesh of the coconut that we are more familiar with, and this may well explain why coconut water has a milder taste with a more mass appeal. Taken from the centre of the green coconut, coconut water is very different than coconut milk in terms of both taste and health benefits so it is important to not get the two confused.
So why are we just getting to find out about this hidden nutritional powerhouse when it has very obviously been around for such a long time?
The young coconut’s water has been a hidden secret for many years, with inhabitants of South America and South Asia (to name only a couple) enjoying its refreshing taste and rehydrating properties for hundreds of years. However, with ripened brown coconuts dropping from the tree of their own nature-inspired will, the green coconut is obviously harder to harvest. And as a business idea, this brings its own set of problems. Picking these coconuts is more labour intensive, meaning less yield for more effort, time and manpower. As the coconuts aren’t ripe, there is an issue with sustaining quality meaning that the water needs to be extracted within a relatively rapid timeframe. Harvesting the coconut in its infancy can affect the crop of the ripe brown coconut, still a highly popular consumable whose popularity has not been affected by the coconut water phenomenon. And is the effort of marketing worth the reward and would this milder tasting water equal the popularity of the ripened nut?
As can often happen in business, luck and a combination of clever timing has meant that our desire to keep well, avoid sugar and fat and to be seen to doing the ‘right’ thing has meant that coconut water hit the commercial market at exactly the right time. With its aspirational nature and the ability to tap into our need for products that deliver on their promises, it seems that coconut water could never fail to achieve supreme greatness.
But a product won’t succeed without a taste that appeals to the majority, and with coconut water admirably bridging the gap between coconut lovers and coconut haters, there is little doubt that it is here to stay.