31 August 2011

Coconut water

Coconut water is the clear liquid inside young green coconuts. Coconuts are more commonly harvested when mature and brown for the hard white coconut flesh or meat, from which liquid is extracted using added water to make coconut milk.

The liquid from green coconuts, usually available fresh in the tropics where the coconut palm is grown, has gained popularity elsewhere as a drink in recent times through the availability of packaged drinks. While the usually sweetened juice with some pulp has been popular in Thailand for some time sold in a can or plastic container, the unsweetened variety has gained wider acceptance outside of Asia. Unsweetened coconut water (not juice) is now a popular health drink. Marketed as a health drink, it has become a fad. Its health benefits, however, have been challenged (see New York Times, CNN, Reuters).

I have actually been drinking coconut water for some time, starting with the nudie brand but the last few months noticed an increase in other brands and availability. Hence, I thought it would be interesting to compare prices, ingredients and taste.

A comparison of each of these is provided below. Prices in Australian dollars.

nudie Coconut Water
Australia, from imported ingredients, source not indicated, no sugar added
350mL ($2.99), 1L ($6.99), per 100mL (small $0.85, large $0.70)
per 100mL - Energy 90kJ, Sodium 18mg, Potassium 190mg, Polyphenols 9mg, sugars 5g
per 350mL - Energy 315kJ, Sodium 63mg, Potassium 665mg, Polyphenols 31.5mg, sugars 17.5g

This is one of the older products in the market with the larger bottle more recently available. It has a natural taste to it without being too sweet. Available in the refrigerated aisles in Coles and Woolworths.

AYAM Coconut Water with pulp
Product of Thailand, coconut juice 90%, water, coconut pulp 3%, sugar, preservative 223
320mL ($1.52), per 100mL ($0.47)
per 100g - Energy 96kJ, Sodium 25mg, sugar 4.1g
per 320mL - Energy 308kJ, Sodium 80mg, sugar 13.1g

This one has added sugar and added water. A cheaper option that is drinkable and slightly sweeter because of the mix despite having lower total sugar content.  Available in the Asian aisle in Woolworths. 

Celebes Organic Coconut Water
Product of the Philippines
350mL ($3.20), per 100mL ($0.91)
per 100mL - Energy 84kJ, Sodium 19mg, Potassium 222mg, sugars 5g
per 350mL - Energy 294kJ, Sodium 70mg, Potassium 780mg, sugars 16g

Despite the similar natural sugar content as other brands, this one tastes less sweet.  Available in health food stores. 

nakula coconut water
Made in Thailand from local organic certified ingredients
300mL ($3.95), per 100mL ($1.32)
per 100mL - Energy 91kJ, Sodium 16.6mg, Potassium 230mg, sugars 3g
per 300mL - Energy 272kJ, Sodium 50mg, Potassium 690mg, sugars 9g

Probably the most expensive brand. The sugar content is much lower and the corresponding taste reflects this. Available in health food stores.

(Schweppes Australia) Kokomo Coconut Water
Packed in the Philippines, no added sugar or artificial sweetener, no preservatives, no concentrate
330mL ($2.50), per 100mL ($0.76)
per 100mL - Energy 83kJ, Sodium 19mg, Potassium 222mg, sugars 4.3g
per 330mL - Energy 274kJ, Sodium 63mg, Potassium 733mg, sugars 14.2g

This is a new product from a large beverage company. It is not as sweet. Available in the drinks aisle in Coles supermarket.

cocobella coconut water
Made fresh at the coconut plantation in Indonesia, free from concentrates
250mL ($1.99), per 100mL ($0.80)
per 100mL - 95kJ, Sodium 40mg, Potassium 131mg, Phosphorous [sic] 67mg, sugars 4.7g
per 250mL - 238kJ, Sodium 100mg, Potassium 328mg, Phosphorous [sic] 166mg, sugars 11.8g

Along with nudie, probably one of the more popular and well-established brands.  It has the right amount of sweetness.  Available in the drinks aisle in Coles supermarket.

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