NEW COCONUT WATER PRESERVATION PROCESS
SARID, March 4, 2007
In an effort to boost the commercialization of coconut water by small farmers, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has published a training guide for a simple preservation process that could increase sales of bottled coconut water. The cold preservation process, FAO notes, would protect natural taste up to three weeks, while protecting its flavor and nutritional characteristics.
Coconut water, the liquid endosperm inside young coconuts, can be found in many places, especially in “sports beverages" because of its high potassium and alkalinizing minerals; it is naturally fat-free and low in calories. Consequently, the coconut cultivation represents an important agricultural activity in a number of countries, including India, Indonesia, and Brazil.
However, the fact that coconut water rapidly deteriorates once exposed to air and warm temperatures, makes the sterilization process very expensive, especially for small farmers and small companies. Moreover, the current sterilization process, which relies on high temperature, destroys some of the nutrients as well as the delicate flavor.
The researchers in Jamaica got an answer to the problem. A close collaboration between the University of the West Indies, the Coconut Industries Board and the Jamaican Scientific Research Council, has resulted in a process that will allow farmers to produce bottled coconut water that stays fresh from 10 days. Moreover, this process requires little investment and skills, thus offering small entrepreneurs a chance to easily enter the market of high quality bottling coconut water. The technology is not protected by a patent and can be freely used.
“The simple cold preservation process will provide the consumer the convenience of purchasing a bottle of refreshing coconut water and opens new opportunities for small farmers and entrepreneurs in coconut producing countries,” said Rosa Rolle, an Agricultural Industries Officer at the Agricultural Support Systems Division of the FAO of the United Nations.