Is This Idea Innovative Or A Little Coconuts?
We received a press release on a food product this week. That isn’t unusual. What is unusual is that we had to look it over twice, because the first time it read like a parody fit for a Saturday Night Live skit.
This was the subject line of the email, presented unedited and as received:
“CASCADIA MANAGING BRANDS LAUNCHES GENUINE COCONUT Drinking coconut water directly from the coconut itself, as nature intended, with no processing, it’s what makes Genuine Coconut unique.”
Yes, Spanish company Genuine Coconut is indeed launching whole coconuts as a retail product. (Isn’t that like emailing about how oranges come in their own durable packaging or a new energy drink discovery named “coffee?”)
Reactions from our writers included:
- “Please tell me this is a parody release. Because that’s totally how it reads.”
- “At first read, I thought it was a scam, then the more I read I had to resist the urge to laugh hysterically. It sounds like something from a “Family Guy” skit. Whatever happened to the good old nail with a hammer technique?”
- “They use ALL CAPS first thing in the morning? Pass.”
Specifically, the innovation being marketed is that the young coconuts are outfitted with pull tabs that cover pre-made holes for sticking the provided straw into. There’s also a slot for jamming a table knife into so that buyers can neatly pry off the pre-scored top and get to the meat inside. So, it’s a drink and a snack. The video below shows how it works.
These easy-open coconuts, sourced by the seller from Thailand, have so far only been sold in Europe. However, “Genuine Coconuts” are now headed to the United States and may soon appear on a store shelves. (Would this go next to the canned coconut milk, the drink aisle or the produce section?)
In the UK, a six-pack (yes, really) costs £19.50, inclusive of domestic shipping. (One writer points out a storage issue: “So, to buy this, I’ve got to keep six coconuts on my shelf?”) That’s currently $24.88 in U.S. dollars, or twice as much as getting six young coconuts from H-Mart. (The press release says that the retail price in the U.S. will be “$3.49 to $3.99.”)
Here’s another gem from the press release:
“A patented, easy-opening system that is applied directly to the fruit, which makes Genuine Coconut the only organic, pure, and virgin coconut water on the market that you can drink in its original container. Advantages? We keep the coconut’s natural protection so that the water it contains is completely aseptic and virgin and 100% free from any type of microbe, thereby preserving all its flavor and aroma.”
You mean, like a regular coconut from the produce aisle?
What makes it able for this product to exist (besides lazy consumers) is America’s growing obsession with “alternative milks,” including soy, almond, hemp, oat and coconut. Cocktails are still extremely popular as well, and Genuine Coconut is quick to point out that you can pour the booze of your choice right in as soon as you pop the top open. (Put a lime in the coconut, too. Do it for us. Do it for Harry Nilsson.)
In the United States, Genuine Coconut might run into a problem: it’s too clunky to be enticingly portable. (It for sure will not fit into a car cup holder.)
Perhaps, though, it will become a status symbol the minute a celebrity is spotted drinking one (or is paid to endorse one). Maybe it will lead to the rise of a new industry. This conversation captured below could be prescient:
“This press release talks about these coconuts like you’ll be carrying them around. and that’s why you need their patented easy-open system. Nobody is going to carry a coconut instead of a bottle of coconut water if they want it that damn bad.”
“I mean, who doesn’t just carry around a coconut for the aesthetic? Carry several. Buy a special bag.”
Would you buy a six-pack of Genuine Coconut? Would you buy a special bag to carry it around in? A coconut koozie?
Maybe it makes more sense to learn how to open a young coconut with regular kitchen tools—”multitaskers,” as Alton Brown would say. Check out the video below for how to open one with a chef’s knife. There are plenty of other online tutorials that employ a cleaver, which makes the job even easier.
Phaedra Cook has written about Houston’s restaurant and bar scene since 2010. She was a regular contributor to My Table magazine (now closed) and was the lead restaurant critic for the Houston Press for two years, eventually being promoted to food editor. Cook founded Houston Food Finder in November 2016 and has been its editor and publisher ever since.