Coco Mojo's working as health drinks firm hits the big time
The Lisburn-based healthy drinks company Coco Mojo is moving from niche to mainstream with a major European supermarket deal and is in talks to secure export contracts in Australia and Asia.
In the Nordic region of Europe, its coconut drinks will soon be on the shelves of value chain Netto, which has 1,400 stores across several countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Poland and Germany.
Netto is part of Denmark's largest retailer, the Dansk Supermarked Group, which also runs three other major grocery chains.
Coco Mojo is supplying Netto with four flavours: pure coconut water, pineapple and watermelon, passion fruit and coconut milk with tropical fruit.
"This is our first major export deal with the Nordic region," said marketing manager Laura Jackson. "Up to now, we've been selling in a smaller way through delis and independent shops in Finland, but this deal marks a major breakthrough for us.
Closer to home, Coco Mojo is also about to make the jump from the independent sector to large scale retail, said Laura.
"We're in talks with one of the leading UK supermarket chains and we hope to have our products stocked in local stores initially, then we hope to push out into their stores in Great Britain. That will be a really big step for us and it's a very exciting development."
And far-flung export markets are opening up, too.
"I'm taking part in an Invest NI trade mission to the Nordic region next month, then I'm off to Australia, also with Invest NI, to meet potential distributors for our products," said Laura. "Australia is a very health-conscious market and we've had a lot of interest there. We've just got a new factory producing our drinks in Vietnam and hopefully that will help us to open up the Asian market too."
The company is based in Lisburn where it carries out product and flavour development, as well as packaging design. The drinks were previously manufactured in Finland, with the pure coconut water shipped in from Sri Lanka and Thailand. Production has now moved to Vietnam and most of the coconut water will be sourced there, too.
Laura said: "We're well known for our coconut drinks and our coconut oil, and now we're launching new products, coconut sugar and coconut flour. The sugar is an increasingly popular alternative to refined sugar, and coconut is a great baking alternative, as it's healthy and gluten-free. Consumers are getting to know the benefits of it, but they're not really sure how to use it, so we're going to launch it with a range of recipes, like red velvet cake."
Coco Mojo's range of coconut-based drinks was launched in April 2014. It has won a number of awards for taste and packaging design.