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Monday, October 3, 2011

PEPSI eyes RP as source for coconut water

Global beverage giant PepsiCo Inc. is looking at the distribution of ‘coconut water’ in the US market with the Philippines as primary source.
 
Trade officials said that Brazilian businessman Rodrigo Veloso, founder and CEO of One Natural Experience (O.N.E.), who came here over a year ago to explore for the sourcing of young ‘coconut water’, has renewed interest in the Philippines.

Based on the plan, O.N.E. will produce the ‘coconut water’ in the country but PepsiCo will take care of distribution in the US market.

“They should produce it here because the tendency for this kind of product is to produce it at source,” the official said.

Ten container vans per month

The initial volume of ‘coconut water’ that O.N.E. would like to source from the Philippines is 10 containers a month. The country’s total coconut production is placed at 16 million tons a year.

Last year, PepsiCo and O.N.E., a Los Angeles, California-based coconut water company, has announced PepsiCo’s increased investment in O.N.E., thereby acquiring a majority stake in the company. This represents a second round of investment in O.N.E. by PepsiCo and Catterton Partners, a private equity firm based in Greenwich, Conn.

Coconut Water is one of the fastest growing categories in the U. S. beverage market.

The trade official, however, said that there is not enough supply of coconut water that can be produced in the country.

Time to revive coconut industry

The number of productive coconut trees in the country has dwindled over the years because of neglect due to the lower price of copra.  It was only lately that prices of copra have reached an all-time high of P60 per kilo following the strong demand of coconut oil in the world market.

CATLAG (Catigan-Laguna variety)
Trade and Industry undersecretary Merly Cruz said the biggest producers of coconuts in the country are Davao , Bicol, Samar, Leyte and Quezon, but coconut production has dwindled over the years because there have been lesser coconut development programs and no more replanting.

She said there is also a huge demand for coconut water concentrates in the U.S. after a Thai supplier has stopped its export business.

Cruz said the government is pursuing an advocacy to develop high-value added products out of coconut by-products to create awareness among Filipinos that there is money in these lowly products and in doing so they would be encouraged to cultivate their coconuts and replant new ones.  [Manila Bulletin Newspaper Online]

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