Coconut milk is just concentrated coconut water

Organic coconut specialties are making a career

With its exotic aroma and creamy consistency, coconut milk has long been one of the classics of Asian cuisine. In the same way, desiccated coconut has its permanent place on the baking shelf. But the nuts offer a lot more possibilities, and so the range of coconut products is growing from year to year. In the organic sector, and often only there, there are various specialties for young and cosmopolitan connoisseurs.

From the white pulp, the manufacturers obtain: coconut milk, coconut butter, coconut oil, coconut flour, desiccated coconut and chips, coconut blossom sugar and syrup, coconut drinks and, more recently, coconut milk. In addition, there is the water of young coconuts as coconut water.

At this year's Biofach, it became clear that organic manufacturers are not running out of ideas with a large selection of organic coconut specialties.

Why organic? In addition to the varied selection, there are several reasons for organic quality. Most organic coconuts come from Indonesia, the Philippines or Sri Lanka - without natural forests having to give way to monoculture plantations. The abandonment of pesticides in cultivation is continued in a 'clean' and gentle processing without solvents and chemical additives during processing.

Then there is the human factor. Child labor during the harvest is of course excluded, the farmers receive fixed and fair wages, training opportunities and more. Many organic producers maintain personal and fair trade relationships that have grown over the years, which is then confirmed, for example, by the Fairtrade or Naturland Fair seal.

For cooking, frying, baking, snacking: Coconut Business / Tropicai, Dr. Goerg, EgeSun / Morgenland and MAL as well as Cocomate as an export company from Sri Lanka are among the manufacturers with a full range of coconut. At Kulau you will also find a larger selection, while kattus, for example, is limited to a basic range. Green Coco Europe, on the other hand, focuses on coconut drinks. Finally, there are the many suppliers who use coconut products to complete their oils, plant drinks or baking ingredients.

Coconut milk and coconut oil are the big sellers

Tropicai and Dr. Goerg not only have a particularly large range, but are also one of the pioneers for products on the German organic market. Both work closely with smallholders in the Philippines. Coconut milk and cold-pressed coconut oil are named here as the most successful products, which other suppliers also confirm.

Mixing nuts of different grades or washing them with chlorinated water is out of the question, says Tropicai, for example, while Dr. Goerg especially emphasizes the freshly harvested, quick processing of the nuts. This fits in with the Morgenland philosophy of having the entire process chain in hand through its own organic cultivation projects. In addition to the long-standing coconut project in Sri Lanka, another is currently being built in Indonesia - another sign of the coconut boom.

Organic coconut milk, made exclusively from diluted pulp and without emulsifiers and Co., is characterized by its creamy consistency. The characteristic aroma harmonizes with all kinds of vegetables and spices.

The pulp content ranges from 52 to 62 percent, depending on the supplier. As with conventional goods, cans have dominated the packaging until now, but Tropicai, Kattus and private label manufacturer MAL, for example, are currently switching to TetraPaks. With the former, it is conveniently resealable.

In connection with coconut milk, coconut butter or creamed coconut can also be mentioned, a specialty in the portfolio of manufacturers with an independent coconut line. As a pure ground pulp, it is more or less a concentrated, firmer coconut milk without added water, which can be used as an alternative for cooking and baking.

A novelty from Dr. Goerg, who introduced a spread made from almond and coconut butter in spring. Manfred Goerg is also convinced of the second component: "We have the only almond butter that is made from fresh, white, whole almonds within an hour and below 38 ° C in real raw food quality and processed into our organic coconut almond butter." In terms of sales, coconut butter has so far played a subordinate role. In contrast to coconut oil, the second top seller. Organic coconut oil is usually offered in jars, although small and large containers are now available thanks to the good demand and shelf life. At the Solling oil mill, the spectrum even extends from the sample size to one liter.

According to Tropicai, coconut oil is an ideal complement to other cold-pressed cooking oils on the shelf. For example, the presentation could include the fact that it is suitable for heating even at high temperatures or that it can be combined well with olive oils for salads. That helps customers find their way around.

As far as possible combinations are concerned, the Solling oil mill has implemented a whole range of ready-made coconut seasoning oils from curry to ginger-lemon. Similarly with Dr. Goerg, where, in addition to pure virgin coconut oil, there are hot chilli or orange turmeric
There is seasoning oil.

Gluten-free snacking with coconut flour, rasps and chips

The manufacturers not only press the oil that is solid at room temperature from the pulp of ripe coconuts, but also extract the flour from the valuable press cake. Although this has not been on the market that long, it is already high on the popularity list.
This is due on the one hand to the composition - coconut flour is gluten-free, rich in fiber and proteins and a source of minerals - and on the other hand to the nutty-sweet taste. Like Bio-Planète, Davert complements the dry range with coconut flour and a few other matching coconut products, whereby they refer to it directly as protein flour thanks to the 20 percent protein.

Coconut flour is also offered in different formats. The raw food coconut flour from Dr. Goerg, for example, is available from 230 gram bags to 5 kg buckets for bulk consumers. MAL demonstrated that flour, with its many uses for processing companies, can be an ingredient with potential at the Biofach with baking mixes for gluten-free muffins, brownies and bread. Now the company hopes to be able to produce these for customers soon.

Back to the pure coconut products. According to MAL, the tried and tested white coconut flakes and modern coconut chips are also part of a basic coconut set. In organic you will not only find natural or roasted chips and flakes, but also differently seasoned chips. Tropicai sells its nibble chips, which are roasted in Germany, in two sweet varieties, while MAL has flavors such as Scho-ko, Caramel & Sea Salt or Chilli.

Apart, mostly sweet and without coconut flavor

Could the organic coconut pioneers have imagined the success of the innovative coconut blossom sugar when it was launched? Although still an expensive specialty, the light caramel alternative to sugar has actually become increasingly popular over the past two or three years. It is obtained from the thickened nectar of regularly regrowing coconut palm flowers. Consumers usually resort to the familiar granular variant, which again has the full range of coconut products such as Kattus, Ölmühle Solling or Davert in their portfolio. The output stage, i.e. liquid coconut blossom syrup, is often on the shelf.
As expected, both variants have long been found in various processing products, especially in chocolate spreads, chocolates and, as with Dr. Goerg, in drinking cocoa powder.

In addition, the flower juice can be fermented and refined into savory seasoning sauces. For example, Tropicai offers fruity and sour coconut blossom vinegar and vinaigrettes, as well as a recently slightly salty alternative to soy sauce. Under the name Coco Aminos, this dark brewed sauce is also available from Big Tree Farms, whereby in this case the comparatively low salt content is emphasized.

Tropical feeling to drink

An equally exciting development in terms of diversity can be observed in the beverage sector. On the one hand, there are coconut drinks and coconut milk as a plant-based milk alternative. The basis of the milky emulsion is coconut milk, which is diluted in different ways.

Green Coco Europe (Dr. Antonio Martins) is one of the providers who use coconut juice from the inside of young nuts. In addition, MAL, Provamel, Isola Bio and others, including private label brands, have exotic, naturally sweet refreshments in their range.

Occasionally, the range of natural drinking milk is supplemented by flavored varieties, for example with cocoa and mango puree (Morgenland, 250 milliliters) or even green matcha tea (Dr. Martins, one liter). And with gently freeze-dried organic coconut milk powder made from 100 percent coconut raw materials, Tropicai has also developed a dry variant that scores with vegetable proteins, fiber and coconut oil content.

The clear coconut water or juice mentioned is also in demand as a low-calorie, trendy refreshment for leisure and sport or for mixing cocktails. For example, Green Coco saw a market for isotonic amniotic fluid from young, green coconuts in Germany very early on. The company now produces the juice from very young and slightly ripe but green coconuts and the more intense coconut water from the young orange-peeled King Coconut from Sri Lanka.

While the latter is also available in the HPP variant, the variants made from green coconut are now attracting attention with a new tropical design and the Fairtrade seal. Last but not least, fruity mixes with pineapple, hibiscus and more expand the selection.
Not to forget: The exotic spectrum is rounded off by all sorts of organic products with coconut as an ingredient: Coconut milk curry in a can (MAL), coconut yoghurts (Harvest Moon, Happy Coco, Berief, etc.), coconut and lentil mix for Indian Dahl, Thai curry mix or chia coconut cups (Davert) and pineapple coconut multi-fruit juice (Voelkel).

Bettina Pabel