Buko Juice

There’s a “coconut water” industry in the States. It became big enough to count in 2004. Coca-Cola is already backing someone and Pepsi-Co just made its move.

"Buko Juice" "Coconut Water" Forbes Industry 2010

Coca-Cola's backing Zico. PepsiCo hasn't bought anyone yet.

From Huffington Post:

Fat-free, cholesterol-free, low-calorie, super-hydrating, naturally rich in electrolytes — benefits of America’s latest health craze: coconut water.

Price: $2 to 3 for a typical tetra pack (equivalent to 10 sips)

For the uninitiated, coconut water is the clear, nut-flavored juice stored inside young coconuts. It has long been a staple liquid of Southeast Asian nations, where the fruit is also harvested for its flesh, oil and milk.

In America, the two biggest players are: Vita Coco, $20 million in 2009 and Zico, (backed by Coca-Cola). U.S. coconut water industry went from zero to $35 million in five years.

Coconut water’s health claim is more potassium which helps regulate blood pressure and lower sodium which helps to prevent related issues like stroke, heart attack and hangovers.

Meanwhile, in Palawan:

Rodney harvested two for me.

Coconut Buko Buco Harvesting

Climbing for a Young Coconut.

Coconut Slice Bolo Machete

Slicing off a piece.

"Coconut Water" Buko Buco Juice

Peeling off the skin reveals delicious buko juice.

"Coconut Water" Buko Buco Juice



Why aren’t we contacting American companies?

In November, two of the largest beverage companies in the States–Pepsi-Co and GNC–signed a joint agreement to develop and market a range of coconut water products.

Do you know where this happened? In the South American country that no one’s ever heard of–Guyana. Never heard.

Their coconut exports were $120 million (in 2009) compared to $16 million the year before.

The Philippines is the world’s largest source of coconut oil. And it’s high listed in related categories like coconut meat.  But there’s a new category–coconut water–that hasn’t been touched yet.

Coconut Plantation

Coconut plantation along the sea in Barangay Isugod, Municipality of Quezon

Filipinos know coconut. Yeah.

The benefits

According to the world’s largest coco water company:

"Vita Coco" "Coconut Water" "Buko Juice"

Sweat and blood taste salty because they contain electrolytes.

"Vita Coco" Amazon

Vita Coco's Amazon page

The big three minerals in electrolytes are sodium, chloride, and potassium.

What to look for

MarketManila explains it well:

Just when I thought plucking a coconut and opening it up was relatively simple, it turns out that you have to pick the coconut when it is just right for the purpose you have in mind. For juice or a drink, you want a young coconut with sweet juice but just starting to form its meat. Those in the know, our staff that grew up in the middle of coconut plantations, refer to the description “mala-uhugin” which literally translated is “snot-like” or “phlegm-like.” What that means is that the coconut meat is still thin, opaque, soft and easily scrapped from the inside of the fruit. Add this to the coconut water, chill and serve.  The coconut in this third somewhat unfocused picture is not “mala-uhugin” and is a bit old for juice. At this meatier stage it is almost ready for grating which can then be toasted and used as a topping to various Filipino rice desserts.

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