In a society of instant, processed edibles, freshness stands out like a rose amongst weed, a star against the night sky. Of course, quality freshness needs to meet a list of criteria to be as it claims. For example, the shorter the shelf life, the fresher an edible. It’s only natural to be sceptical when we are fed with countless misleading nutritional information daily.
Our freshness radar recently caught on COCOLOCO, which sells unpasteurised, preservatives-free bottled Thai coconut water. Unlike many coconut water in the market with a shelf life of more than one year, COCOLOCO has a shelf life of only two days due to its freshness.
Founded by Kelvin Ngian and Jun Hew, COCOLOCO painstakingly extracts its coconut water by hand, with no chemicals used in the process. All orders are prepared on the spot and delivered within a day of bottling. Its guiding principles are simply raw, fresh and pure.
Nookmag (N): There has been a recent emergence of healthy local produce. What are your reasons for specialising in Thai coconut water?
Jun Hew (J): I guess it occurred naturally for us to specialise in coconut water due to Kelvin’s family business, which has been focusing on the importing and wholesaling of fresh Thai coconuts to restaurants and hotels in Singapore for the last 15 years. With the emergence of a dozen over major American or European coconut water brands, we noticed that the packed or bottled coconut water tastes nothing like the real thing…in fact far from it. Hence, we started the conceptualisation of COCOLOCO. We wanted something that’s the next best thing to a real coconut. And the only way to achieve this is to meddle with it as little as possible. Only then are we able to retain the delicate pandan-like fragrance and refreshing taste of the Thai Coconut.
N: Coconut water has gotten its share of hype, while some nutritionists claim that its health benefits are overrated. What’s your take on this?
J: We have never really focused that much on the health benefits of coconut water. Yes, it contains electrolytes and many other minerals and yes, it has been used as a drip in poorer countries where saline is hard to come by or even saved a few lives during the world war. But our focus has always been on the taste of it. We just want our consumers to enjoy what a real Thai coconut taste like.
N: How has coconut water benefited you?
J: Well, coconut water has always been the hangover cure for me and also to cool off those ‘heaty’ days after an overindulgent Chinese New Year. The Chinese belief is that coconut water is ‘cooling’. We have made a lot of COCOLOCO runs to expecting mothers to cool off the hot flashes and more recently, a last minute delivery straight to the hospital before the mommy gave birth.
N: As we start the new year afresh, how do you think we could eat, drink and live healthier?
J: We always believe in doing everything in moderation and be positive in whatever your do. Health is a state of complete harmony of the body, mind and spirit.
N: We noticed that you raised an impressive $23,317.50 for The Breadline Group previously. Could you share with us more about how you managed to do that?
J: It took us by surprise as well. As we didn’t have much time on our hands to organise a big fund raising event of any sort, we simply pledged a small portion of the proceeds with every bottle sold to the charity. At the same time, we volunteered with the charity, The Breadline Group, which is a smaller charity run completely by volunteers. Their mission is to help the elderly and destitute in Singapore. That is a side which many of us would not be aware of in our daily lives.
Through our experiences from volunteering with the charity, we shared our experiences and stories via social media to help raise awareness and I believe some corporations picked up on that and made a few donations to contribute.
N: Does COCOLOCO intend to take on more of such kindness projects? How else would you give back to the community?
J: Definitely. When we first started COCOLOCO, we didn’t want it to be just another coconut water brand. We wanted it to have a soul as well. 50for50 and The Breadline Group is just the beginning. We will be looking at other ways in which we can give back. We were born and raised in this community and have benefited much from it. Figured it’s time to give back to the community as best we can.