COYO is the original coconut milk yoghurt, developed by Henry Gosling approximately 8 years ago and has lead to something of a coconut milk yoghurt explosion. There are now at least six types of coconut milk yoghurt on the New Zealand market. We spoke to Karen Dennison about how COYO continues to stand out in the market.

What is your company background, how did you start the business?

Coconut Culture was set up in 2015 when we took the licence to manufacture COYO coconut milk yoghurt. We are three directors, myself Karen Dennison, an ex lawyer who was more interested in food than the law, my sister Polly Dagg who had a background in catering and Bill Dwyer, another food loving lawyer. We had been eating COYO for some time, we thought it was a bit of a taste sensation but it wasn’t widely available so when the opportunity to buy the licence presented itself we jumped at it.”

What is the current product range and variants and how do these products stand out in the market?

“We have six yoghurt flavours in 3 sizes. Natural, chocolate, mango, mixed berry, passionfruit and spicy chai. All flavours come in 100g and 350g sizes, natural only in the 800g size. All our yoghurt is dairy and gluten free. Apart from the spicy chai, which has a very small amount of organic raw sugar in it, there is no sugar added to our yoghurts the sweetness comes either from the natural sweetness of the coconut or from fruit and the sugar levels are very low – about half a teaspoon per serve. There is a high probiotic count and the lauric acid in the coconut cream means that the yoghurt has immune boosting properties, so it tastes delicious but is also very good, particularly, for your gut health. Research tells us that having a healthy gut is key to general good health and well being.

“We pride ourselves on the quality of our product, no watering down and we use the best quality ingredients in our yoghurts. The resulting product is like whipped cream with a tang from the culture and a background of coconut and fruit/chocolate/spice notes.”

Has there been any recent company news?

The release of the 100g size and the spicy chai are relatively recent developments. Having a 100g size means that people can treat this as a healthy on the go snack, it’s cheaper than a cup of coffee but much better for you!

“The spicy chai flavour is incredibly versatile, it can be used in sweet and savoury dishes alike and is a lovely accompaniment to winter puddings. It’s made with Hakanoa Spicy Chai syrup, a beautiful product made with fresh ginger, organic black tea and spices, the flavours of the COYO and the syrup go beautifully together.”

What are the plans for the business moving forward, is there any expansion on the horizon?

“At this stage we just want to keep doing what we’re doing and do it well!”

Where are your products currently available to buy, and are you looking at or wanting to expand your availability?

“COYO is available in most specialty food stores such as Huckleberry, Nosh, Piko’s, Liberty Market etc. It is also available in selected Foodstuffs  and Fresh Choice supermarkets. We hope to soon be available in some Countdown stores. Numerous restaurants and cafes also have COYO on their menus.”