“We wanted to be approachable; we wanted to bring this to as many people who want to enjoy coconut water as we can,” Mitchell Compton, one of Coconut Beach’s co-founders, told FoodNavigator-USA.
The young brand is only about a year old, and its products, coconut water and chips, hit the shelves just last fall—a time where coconut water products are filling the refrigerators of everything from drugstores to supermarkets, natural food stores to gas stations. But Coconut Beach’s advantage is that it’s available at dollar stores.
“A lot of our competitors in the category are selling similar water for $2, $3, for 16 oz. And in the category for chips, a new area in coconuts, no one even compares as far as [our] price and quality,” Compton said.
“Thanks to my colleague [Kent Harrington] and his family’s relationship with [coconut growers] in Thailand, we were able to get high quality products at prices that we thought would allow us to sell a product at 99 cents suggested retail price,” he added.
“High Price Pasteurization”
The San Diego-based company buys coconuts, processes them, and packages its products in Thailand. “We don’t transport it here in concentrate, it just defeats the purpose of delivering good quality products,” Compton said
The farms they worked with have been working with Kent Harrington’s family for generations. Because of that, they contend full transparency with their product’s sources, quality, and relationship with farmers, even without a Fair Trade certification or something similar.
“It’s all about personal relationships over there,” Harrington said. “It’s definitely not a fly-by-night type of deal.”
Another factor that allows the company to sell at a lower price is opting out of High Pressure Processing (HPP), which has been gaining traction in the juice and functional beverages market because of its perceived benefits in maintaining nutrition and taste.
“HPP is something that’s very big, and at this show especially” Compton said, referring to Natural Products Expo West 2016. He joked and said he thinks the acronym actually stands for High Priced Pasteurization.
“In the coconut space, Kent’s family has a lot of experience with this,” Compton added. “It’s something we don’t feel is the best way to process coconut water at this time. We don’t think it’s scalable. We use flash pasteurization. We’re the anti- $8 water.”