Aseptic Coconut Milk

The story behind the products; Chapter 2

by Gary Cohen

In 2003, we started importing coconut milk from Thailand. It was originally offered to us in cans, which we accepted. It sold pretty well. We went round and round on the ingredients. Back then, coconut milk had all sorts of gums and stabilizers, and whiteners. I remember saying to potential customers that our coconut milk wasn’t “Snow White” (Sorry, Walt Disney, but it was kind of grayish). And I later found out that the number one use for guar gum in the United States…is for oil fracking. They use guar gum to extract the oil molecules from the ground. Then they separate the oil from the guar gum. No wonder consumers don’t want guar gum in their food. So we went ahead with producing coconut milk in 1-liter aseptic cartons. Jody claims I am a gambler, but when the producer said the minimum production run was 5 containers of aseptic packaging, I gulped and said, “sure.” Well, I made one teeny tiny (ok, not so small) miscalculation. Well, 2 actually.

One. This was right before Tetra came out with the pour-spout for aseptic packaging. In order to get the milk, you needed to take scissors and cut off part of the cardboard to make a spout. Then it wasn’t possible to seal up the container before you could put it in the refrigerator.


Two. Retailers didn’t sell a ton of coconut milk back then. Hey, we were talking 17 years ago! So their shelves were set for single facings of cans of coconut milk, not even stacked 2 high. So the aseptic carton didn’t fit on the shelf. Oops, x 2.

We wound up discontinuing the product and eating the loss for 2+ containers’ worth of empty cartons.

Like Panasonic, we were slightly ahead of our time