Blue Coconut has the science to show that its oil, cold pressed from coconuts grown on Pacific islands, can greatly reduce the risks of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
"We want it used in every New Zealand kitchen," says John Drew of Blue Coconut. "If we could convince people to cook only with this form of pure coconut oil, it would do more for the nation's health than any other single change in behaviour."
What? Evidence shows that, in its purest form, coconut oil contains an exceptionally high level of "good fat" with the chemical compound known as medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) - saturated fat of the type most easily absorbed into the body, and capable of providing energy and protection for optimal health in the nervous system and organs. Alternative cooking oils derived from seeds, nuts or vegetables tend to be less favorable because they require cholesterol for digestion in the body.
Coconut oil's special qualities are evident in the fact that it does not go rancid for long periods and will not smoke when cooking temperatures get high. Other oils tend to oxidize when stored and burn far more readily.
"Once you have been using coconut oil for a month or so - and experienced health benefits like clearer skin, more energy and a greater sense of wellbeing- you'll never go back," says Mr Drew.
Blue Coconut has joined GS1 to support the launch of its product to an increasingly interested public through Foodstuffs supermarkets. It is a business development born, in part, from tragedy: The oil was distributed mainly through the New Regent Medical Centre, an integrative health practice which was based in Christchurch's CTV building. The February 2011 earthquake destroyed the centre and took the lives of nine staff. John Drew and Dr Victoria Flight, managers of the practice and owners of Blue Coconut, were away from the CTV building that lunchtime.
In the difficult period since, they have expanded Blue Coconut and resolved to supply not just their former patients but New Zealanders everywhere, sick and healthy. Both have backgrounds in science, and Dr Flight is a general practitioner and nutritionist.
The cold-pressed oil is imported from Samoa and Vanuatu in crude form, and subject to minimal refinement at a plant in Tauranga. Mr Drew and Dr Flight have established a Blue Coconut packaging facility near their home at Little River, Banks Peninsula.