Coconut water comes with a whole host of health benefits, is packed with vitamins and electrolytes, and is a popular choice for rehydrating after a workout session. You may well be wondering though, ‘why is coconut water so expensive?’.
It’s certainly pricier than many other hydration products on the market, so if you like to keep an eye on your spending, you might want to know why exactly you’re paying extra when you visit the grocery store.
For reference, at the time of writing, a litre of Innocent coconut water from Tesco costs £3.69. In comparison, a litre of Evian mineral water costs 65p, and a litre of Coca-Cola costs £1.09.
Let’s dive into examining the reasons why coconut water is expensive…
Coconut water is marketed to a certain demographic of people. These are people who actively seek out innovative and natural health products, and who are happy to spend more money on items that they believe will support their wellbeing and their fitness aspirations.
The demand is there, and the basic rules of economics dictate that this will drive up the price.
There are several premium brands that are all fighting for their piece of the coconut water market, and if you pay careful attention to their marketing techniques, you’ll notice that they aren’t attempting to compete on price.
Rather, they’re more concerned with demonstrating their organic or sustainable qualities.
When these kinds of market conditions are at play, prices become inflated quite simply because there are plenty of consumers who are willing to pay extra.
Coconuts are obviously required to make coconut water, and it’s widely known that harvesting them can be a dangerous task.
It requires climbing trees that are often over 25 metres high, and with relatively shallow roots, they don’t offer a great deal of stability on windy days. It’s also worth noting that coconuts are heavy and solid, and if they fall from a height, they can cause very serious injury or even death.
People have to be paid to carry out this risky work, and employers need to ensure that they can attract the right people and also comply with relevant regulations by taking suitable precautions to keep people safe. These are contributing factors that answer the question of why is coconut water so expensive.
Coconut trees are fairly easy to grow, but they can be tricky to maintain over a longer period, especially if you require them to be providing regular high quality harvests.
For a tree to reach its full production potential, it takes around 15 to 20 years.
Growing conditions for coconuts are also important to consider. You’ll need fertile soil, a drainage system, fertilisers, and the right temperature and humidity.
All of this is before you even begin to think about the process of weeding, harvesting, and preparing and storing the coconut water.
The aspects of running a coconut farming business can be complex, and of course these costs must be passed on to the end consumer.
The Philippines is the largest producer of coconuts, followed by Indonesia. Though coconuts are grown in over 80 countries, the fact that they require specific conditions to thrive mean that they can’t be naturally produced in many different locations.
As such, it’s likely that if we want to enjoy coconut water, we need to have it shipped in from somewhere else.
This really ramps up the costs, as it means that producers need to take care of preserving, packaging, shipping, and logistics.
Coconut water requires more labour to create, and it also requires more consideration in terms of preserving and packaging, which is why it’s more expensive than coconut.
Supply and demand is also a factor here. Particularly during the summer months in warmer climes, coconut water can be in very high demand, and therefore prices can be inflated.
Perhaps you can’t find any coconut water in your local supermarket, but you need some for a recipe. In this case, you have several different substitution options to explore.
You can steep shredded coconut in hot water. You can dilute coconut milk with some tap water. You can use an alternative nut milk, or even a fruit juice such as watermelon.
Ultimately, choosing the best option comes down to the individual circumstances.
For example, when a recipe calls for coconut water to steam rice, it’s being used because of its nutty and sweet nature, so it requires a substitute with similar qualities. If it’s being used for its coconut flavour in a drink or a smoothie, it makes sense to substitute with coconut milk.
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