Coconut Products Galore In Major Organic Show


London: Coconuts, coconuts, everywhere and plenty of drops to drink. The Natural & Organic Products Europe exhibition, held at the spacious ExCel venue here on April 17 and 18, had thousands of visitors downing copious amounts of coconut water, and experiencing the pleasure of having a variety of skin creams and lotions, enhanced by the coconut’s soft white flesh, rubbed on the backs of their hands to feel and smell.

Destination Kerala was delighted to spot a Kerala firm, Pepper Trail Trading, among the 650 exhibitors from all over the world who took part in the annual show which celebrated its 20th year.

Co-directors Sujith Chandran and San Mahanta set up the firm a year ago in Kochi and already have offices in Bengaluru and London as well. Their UK registered trading name is Sanjeevani Naturals which handles imports of natural and organic products from Kerala. Sujith said: “We work closely with farmers and co-operative groups to ensure we are selling the highest quality of coconut products, including spices and grains. Our goal is to provide a sustainable and fair living to our farmers as well as to look after the environment. We also aim to rejuvenate the farm sector with new health products,” he said.

Under the Pepper Trail brand, they supply coconut products like coconut sugar, coconut chips, desiccated coconut and coconut blossom nectar, as well as spices, coffee and rice from farmers’ co-operatives of small holders in the Wayanad district and the nearby Lakshadweep islands. Their product range includes organic cold-pressed extra Virgin coconut oil and traditionally hot processed organic Virgin coconut oil.

San said: “Wayanad is well-known for its exotic vegetation. It is a bio-diversity hotspot and home of the tiger. It is also the largest Robusta organic coffee-producing region in India. This is why supporting organic farming there matters so much to us.”

Their spice range includes whole black and white pepper, cardamom, cloves, nutmeg, mace, whole and powdered turmeric as well as whole and powdered ginger. Organic Navara rice, recommended in Ayurveda circles for its medicinal qualities, and Rakthashali red rice, are also handled by the firm.

More coconut stands popped up when Destination Kerala rounded a corner and found Coconut Miracle of Sri Lanka, run by founder Shani Ahangama and her husband Deepal. Set up six years ago, she beamed: “We are the pioneers of organic Virgin coconut oil on the island.” Their coconut exports encompass snacks, flour, cream, butter, milk and water to the UK, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Hongkong and are poised to exploit interest from South Africa, Israel, Norway and the Netherlands. “We have 250 factory workers and are expanding all the time,” she said.

Another Sri Lankan enterprise, Coco House, produces organic Virgin coconut oil which can be used “in cooking, as a skin moisturiser, for hair care, teeth whitening or consuming a teaspoonful three times a day to boost health.” Other Sri Lankan coconut firms that took part included Virgin Coconut which extols its king coconut water as ‘naturally delicious, sweet, refreshing and hydrating.’ MightyBee of London showed the UK’s first fresh frozen Virgin coconut meat and fresh frozen Virgin coconut water and other products made from Thailand coconuts. The Coconut Company of London also has operations in Singapore and Hong Kong, supplying organic, natural or raw coconut products like oil and milk powder to distributors, retailers and specialist health food stores. Their coconuts come from Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Most of the stands said their coconuts came from Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Brazil, Malaysia and Thailand but several could not name their sources which were known to their distributors.

The show, Europe’s biggest trade event of natural and organic health, beauty, food and eco-living, brought top exhibitors plus representatives from all major supermarkets and multiples, specialist suppliers, international wholesalers and distributors, restaurants and contract caterers, hotels, salons and spas as well as thousands of independent retail outlets.

Already firms are booking their places for the 2017 show, described by event organiser Diversified Communications UK as a ‘who’s who of buyers and decision-makers’. Next year’s show will be held in the same venue on April 2 and 3.

Lysa Hardy, chief commercial officer at Holland & Barrett, the health food chain, commented: “Natural & Organic Products Europe is great for us because it brings suppliers from all over the world to our doorstep and gives us a chance to see, touch and taste the latest innovative new products which could help our customers live healthier lives.”

More than 40 talks by experts filled lecture halls over the two days, with titles such as The Future of Beauty Retailing, Organic Beauty in the UK- a Growing Market, Supercharged Health – Eat Yourself Beautiful and Your Recipe for a Great Skin. One of the talks, on turmeric, focused on the ‘rapid growth of curcumin’s reputation.’

Various awards were presented including the best new food product which went to Bounce Foods of the UK for their coconut lemon protein crush, and best new drink product was won by Pukka Herbs, UK, for their turmeric gold.

Adriana Michael, editor of Organic and Wellness News of Ottawa, wrote in her editorial column in the spring 2016 issue: “It is amazing to see the growing number of trade shows now offering brands of certified organic products and many other goods making a health or sustainability claim.”