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Tender coconuts find fresh business in ice cream

Tender coconuts find fresh business in ice cream

As consumers try innovative ice creams, tender coconut is getting a nearly 20% slice of the natural flavour market. Ice cream companies are spurring tender coconut sales as consumers show increasing preference for the nut among natural product flavours.

The tender coconut flavoured ice creams have become a big draw, especially in South India, which accounts for 90% of coconut production in India.

“People here have an affinity for tender coconuts and hence they have taken a fancy for it,” said Johnson Joseph, marketing manager of Kerala-based Meriiboy Ice Cream, which sort of pioneered the flavour in these parts.

Among its natural products flavours, tender coconut is the top selling special flavour and accounts for nearly 20% share of sales.

Other ice cream companies have been cottoning in on the demand.It is a fast selling flavour for Lazza Ice Creams, a major company.

“Apart from Kerala, tender coconut flavour is much sought after in metros like Bengaluru and Chennai. Jackfruit is another flavour that is picking up in demand,”said J Hashim, CEO of Lazza Ice Cream.

“Consumers go for innovative flavours as they are fed up with traditional ones like strawberry, pista, chocolate etc. However, vanilla remains the largest selling flavour for all ice cream companies,” said C Sreekumar, marketing manager of Pappai Ice Creams, another company to join the tender coconut ice cream bandwagon.

The demand for tender coconut flavoured ice cream and the companies scrambling to make most of it has given an unexpected boost to packaged tender coconut water suppliers, opening up an alternative income source for them.

“We use up to 2,000 tender coconuts a day. We take the water, extract the pulp and sell to the ice cream companies. The price ranges from 275 per kg to 200.Depending on the availability,” said T Satish, MD of Agricoles Naturel Foods in Palakkad.

About 15 to 20% of the total coconut production of 2,200 crore in the country go as tender coconuts. The tender coconut water manufacturers did consider making value added products from the pulp, as it requires additional investment, they prefer to sell the pulp to ice cream companies. The drought this year slashed the coconut harvest, boosting prices of tender coconuts.

“The pulp business is seasonal.It stops in June and resumes by September, when the ice cream sales pick up,” pointed out R Kiran Kumar, managing partner of Lifetree Agro Foods, another tender coconut water company.









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