[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/1″][text_output]In an important address at the May 16 Foodnews Juice Asia 2013 symposium in Bangkok, Thailand, iTi Tropicals, Inc. President Gert van Manen advocated that coconut water is a compelling ingredient with a bright future in the food and beverage market if it is labeled accurately. Van Manen’s speech, “Coconut Water: Fad or Sustainable Ingredient?” discussed the availability, benefits, technical challenges, market expansion and methods of delivery for coconut water. He also talked about issues of ethical sourcing, sustainability and authenticity.
iTi Tropicals Inc., a food ingredient company specializing in premium tropical flavors, has been developing and importing coconut water for the past nine years. Van Manen believes that coconut water is not a fad; it is here to stay. In his address, he also noted issues that, without proper attention, could derail coconut water’s long-term success in the marketplace. While consumer interest remains strong, he expressed concern that not all coconut water beverages are labeled accurately. Some products appear to have added sugar that is not disclosed on the label.
Van Manen said, “There is a big market for sugar-added beverages––much bigger than the market for 100% juice. But these products need to be labeled correctly.” Van Manen fears that consumers who don’t want the added sugar will be unhappy if they discover they are drinking a sugar-added beverage. He believes that regulators won’t be happy either. “This is why we spend so much time traveling the world to select and understand supply. It’s crucial for us to know who we’re doing business with. And we always test for authenticity.”