LAWRENCEVILLE, N.J. — Gert van Manen, President of iTi Tropicals, Inc. addressed the Foodnews Juice Asia 2013 event Bangkok, Thailand on May 16. Mr. van Manen made the case that coconut water is a compelling ingredient with a bright future in the food and beverage market, provided that it is labeled appropriately.
Gert’s speech “Coconut Water: Fad or Sustainable Ingredient?” discussed the availability, benefits, technical challenges, market expansion, and methods of delivery. He also discuss ethical sourcing, sustainability and authenticity. iTi has been developing and importing coconut water for 9 years and believes that coconut water is here to stay. He also discussed some issues that, without proper attention, could derail coconut water’s long term success.
While consumer interest is strong, Gert expressed his concern is that not all coconut water beverages are labeled correctly. Some products appear to have undeclared added sugar. He continued “There is a big market for sugar added beverages. Much bigger than 100% juice. But make sure to label it correctly.” Consumers who don’t want added sugar will be disappointed if they find out that they are drinking a sugar added beverage. Regulators won’t be happy either. “This is why we spend so much travelling the world to select and understand supply. So we know who we are doing business with. Also, we always test for authenticity.” says van Manen.