Few foods shy of the avocado could embody millennial food habits, but the coconut is doing just that.
Although the tropical staple was once shunned for its high saturated-fat content, it has become a core part of better-for-you and nutrition-added foods and beverages.
Google searches for coconut and health show that consumer interest in the food’s nutritional profile has been growing globally since 2010.
Millennials largely agree that coconut is a naturally healthy food.
Indeed, research from New Nutrition Business shows that this demographics’ purchase of coconuts is motivated by its healthy profile.
In a series of focus groups, people aged 24-33 from 13 different countries tasted several coconut-based milks, yoghurts, snacks and an ice-cream, and discussed their opinions.
Most appreciated the taste of coconut, with many expressing surprise at how much they enjoyed coconut-based products.
The overwhelming opinion was that coconut was best combined with other flavours, preferably sweet ones.
The most appealing categories for coconut were bakery and confectionery, while coconut-based yoghurts were the least well-received.
These results reveal a gap in the market and an opportunity for companies to develop coconut yoghurts.
Coconut-based dairy alternatives were popular among both dairy-avoiders and regular milk consumers, indicating that companies should target dairy-free products with coconut at a wider audience than dairy-avoiders, and highlight taste as a benefit.
Mikaela Lindén, market analyst at New Nutrition Business, says: “Companies should leverage the naturally healthy message, and use social media to communicate the potential benefits of coconut.”