Coconut water in the Western markets may be moving beyond pure coconut water into other categories such as coffee+coconut water (CocoEspresso) but in Malaysia, coconut water remains coconut water for the moment.
Consumers need to feel comfortable with packaged coconut water before other coconut water-based innovation can start to trickle in. To promote coconut water, Karta is running a roadshow with the mobile truck visiting cites and towns in the the state of Pahang including Raub, Jerantut and Kuantan. The mobile truck went to the morning markets in the first half of October 2015 giving out samples to predominantly housewives shopping for fresh produce and meat.
These ‘aunties’ hold the key to the food choices of their homes. Most of them would be trying packaged coconut water for the first time. If the taste is right, they might become repeat customer buying for their kids since coconut water has less sugar content than other sugary drinks. Targeting children can be other option to grow the coconut water market apart from targeting the sports market.
Kara has also been reaching out to hospitals. Coconut water is provided to patients battling dengue.
|Image from Kara Marketing Facebook site
|Image from Kara Marketing Facebook. Karta at Reebok Spartan Race
Cocomax is the latest coconut water to enter the Malaysian market. The 100% coconut water is made by Thailand’s Asiatic Agro Industry Co., Ltd. and distributed locally by Max Food Enterprise (M) Sdn Bhd and in Singapore by Field Catering & Supplies Pte Ltd. Cocomax is already available in 15 countries in Europe and Asia. Asiatic Agro is currently investing THB800 million to build a new plant in Amphawa in Samut Songkhram province with a capacity to produce 72mn bottles a year. Malaysia, Poland, South Korea and France are among the new markets for Cocomax. At the moment, Singapore and Japan are the key markets with 25% of Cocomax export sales.
|RM5.39 per bottle for the 500ml Cocomax compared with RM 3.49 for the 330ml Coco Life and the 330ml Cowa
Flavour extension is the focus for most brands. Karta is the first to go beyond plain coconut water with new pineapple and cucumber varients.
In the UK, coconut milk is now being used in dairy-free milk shake as a replacement for dairy. One thing in common though is there is no plain coconut milk. In China, it is the other way round with plain coconut milk being an established category but coconut drink is a newcomer.
|Photo taken at Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2015 in the UK in September 2015
With fresh coconut water widely available in Malaysia, it is interesting to see if the coconut water category can establish itself in the market.