Boosting the commercialization of coconut water
Cold preservation could help small farmers to gain market share
21 February 2007, Rome - In an effort to boost the commercialization of coconut water by small farmers and companies, FAO has published a training guide promoting a simple cold preservation process that could increase sales of bottled coconut water.
“The cold preservation process requires little investment and skills, and it offers small entrepreneurs a chance to enter the market of bottling coconut water of good quality,” said Rosa Rolle of FAO’s Rural Infrastructure and Agro-industries Division.
The process was developed and evaluated in Jamaica, in close collaboration with the University of the West Indies, the Coconut Industries Board and the Jamaican Scientific Research Council.
To date, most coconut water is still consumed fresh in tropical countries. Once exposed to air, and warm temperatures, it rapidly deteriorates.
Present commercial production of canned coconut water has a drawback. Sterilizing the product using high temperature and short-time pasteurization destroys some of the nutrients in coconut water and almost all of the delicate flavour.
The cold preservation process recommended by FAO instead protects the natural flavour of coconut water. The process involves filtration, bottling and rigorous temperature control. It allows farmers to produce bottled coconut water that stays fresh from 10 days to three weeks. This will help to meet demands from domestic retail markets.
“The simple cold preservation process will provide the consumer the convenience of purchasing a bottle of refreshing coconut water and opens new opportunities for small farmers and entrepreneurs in coconut producing countries,” Rolle said.
FAO is also finalizing publications on the more sophisticated microfiltration technique and a low-tech system that can be used by street vendors.
The cold preservation technology is not protected by a patent and can be used by anybody.
Media Relations, FAO
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