Testing Kiwis' taste for coconut oil
Chris Wyllie and his partner Rusila Vere of Tavulomo Coconut Processing Ltd (Fiji) are re-educating Kiwis about the difference between cold pressed coconut oils.<!--more-->
[caption id="attachment_7250" align="alignleft" width="138"]<a href="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/rsz_tavulomo_9.jpg"><img class="size-full wp-image-7250" src="https://pacifictradeinvest.com/PTI/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/rsz_tavulomo_9.jpg" alt="The smooth, clear, mild flavour of the coconut oil is something that Kiwi customers are starting to appreciate." width="138" height="104" /></a> The smooth, clear, mild flavour of the coconut oil is something that Kiwi consumers are starting to appreciate.[/caption]
The first step is to use the best fresh coconuts that are then processed into culinary grade raw cold pressed virgin coconut oil known as (VCO) at the custom built coconut oil factory in the Bua region of Vanua Levu, Fiji. The result is a smooth, tasting mildly flavoured, clear coconut oil.
The couple began a new marketing drive a few weeks ago at the Lautoka Market in Fiji where they say locals were impressed with the taste of the coconut oil.
They were off to a great start and are now in Auckland visiting local markets to gauge the response and determine the level of consumer demand. Slowly, they are hoping to re-educate consumers on the flavour of good coconut oil and eventually raise demand for their product.
There was great feedback from the Matakana Farmers Market, north of Auckland, with positives from visitors and the biggest response, they say from the Indian community who loved the taste and flavour of the product.
Next, a trip to the Auckland Food Show to see what was on offer. Although they chose not to exhibit, they went round and found several good leads and contacts and tried other similar coconut oils on show.
Last weekend, Pacific Periscope visited the Otara market where Mr Wyllie and Ms Vere had a stall. Again, they were very encouraged with the positive feedback and they also sold a few jars of coconut oil. One shopper who initially said she wasn’t keen on coconut oil and had no intention of buying the product, became a convert after a quick test. It tasted so much better than the one they get at home she told Mr Wyllie.
The couple now plan to try North Shore’s Takapuna market this weekend and possibly one other before heading back to home to Fiji.
Their biggest point of difference, says Mr Wyllie, is the smooth, clear, mild flavour of the coconut oil, something that consumers have so far agreed with.
Much of that comes from picking the best coconuts and processing them with clear traceability along each stage to maintain high quality standards. They can track daily production sheets to find the farm owners and suppliers’ name, the coconuts harvested or rejected, the production workers and their jobs, the batch numbers recording every 20 litre container or 270 ml glass jar produced. Samples from each 20 litre batch is then sent to Eurofins NZ Laboratory Services, an international testing company.
The village based factory also adds to the local economy by creating local jobs for villagers, some who had not been in paid employment before. As process workers, they are also fully trained to carefully follow handling standards and processing procedures.
For more information on Tavulomo Coconut Processing Limited contact PT&I Trade Development Manager Joe Fuavao at