A Brand's Story: Cocoxim — Paving a New Path For Ben Tre Coconut Farmers

2020-07-20 16:32:20

On our quest to tell inspiring stories about modern-day Vietnam, Vietcetera has had the privilege to cross paths with many visionary founders and pioneering business leaders who are avidly pursuing the dream of bringing quality Vietnamese products to the world. 

Home-grown coffee brands working under the farm-to-cup model who are determined to shake off the county’s label of the world’s instant coffee producer. Chocolate bars made from Vietnamese cocoa beans hailed by connoisseurs as some of the finest in the world. Hybrid rice variety twenty years in the making that was named the winner of the World's Best Rice 2019 award. Despite their differences, what these stories of aspiration and success have in common is that they all stem from the individuals’ ability to harness Vietnam’s valuable natural resources while adopting modern technology and a global growth mindset.

Standing out in the pantheon of inspiring Vietnamese businesses is Betrimex. Operating from Vietnam’s coconut region of Ben Tre, Betrimex (Ben Tre Import and Export Joint Stock Company) is the maker of Cocoxim packaged coconut water. Present on the supermarket shelves in 40 countries, the premium product is the top choice for Vietnamese and foreign consumers alike.

Betrimex's 40 Years of Partnership with Coconut Farmers

With 1.3 million tons of coconuts harvested each year, Vietnam is the sixth largest coconut-growing country in the world. In fact, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Vietnam dedicates 175,000 hectares of its agricultural land to coconut farming — half of which is in Ben Tre. 

Ben Tre coconuts come in many varieties, from the Pandan to the Aromatic, all delivering high yield and premium quality. Sweet-tasting and with delicious buttery copra (kernel), they feature thick outer husk and durable coir (fiber) — features that lend them diverse uses and make them a popular choice for domestic and international buyers.

Coconuts’ high economic value makes them the primary source of income for 40 percent of Ben Tre's population. That said, because a farmer’s crop of land tends to be small, limiting their ability to farm coconuts at scale, their total income still leaves much to be desired.

Recognizing the concerns of local farmers, Betrimex is determined to build a mutually beneficial relationship with smallholders by purchasing their produce at a fair price and subsidizing resources such as farming equipment and fertilizer. In doing so, Betrimex hopes to sustain an industry that so many locals depend on.

Beyond that, Betrimex pledges to continue to invest in technological innovation to meet the needs of high-end markets and to organise resources in ways that increase productivity and lower costs.

Elevating the Value of Ben Tre Coconuts with Cocoxim

Between 2015-2016, coconut water’s popularity as a healthy, delicious and all-natural alternative to artificially sweetened drinks started growing in Vietnam and globally. Since coconuts can't be grown and processed just anywhere, for Vietnam with its optimal coconut-growing conditions, this rising interest in coconut water is a boon. 

 Betrimex’s product development team knew that before reaching consumers, coconut water needed to meet a number of criteria: the product had to be 100% natural; had a pleasant taste; had to meet all food safety standards; and packaging had to fit easily within the modern lifestyle. The catch-all solution was to package Betrimex coconut water in ready-to-drink cartons.

In July 2016, Betrimex officially brought its coconut water line Cocoxim to the market. Available in four flavors — Original Green Coconut, Coconut-Lotus, Coconut-Calamansi and Coconut-Pineapple — the product is made from 100% pure coconut water using the ultra-high temperature (UHT) sterilization process. This procedure allows Cocoxim products to retain the original taste, all the nutrients and freshness without any additional preservatives and colorants. The packaging by Tetra Pak (Sweden) is constructed from six recyclable layers topped with a smart screw cap called the "Dream Cap” — designed to make drinking more convenient and enjoyable. 

 Cocoxim is a pioneering product that is suitable for daily consumption, especially during the blazing summer months. It challenges the notion that processed coconut water can't be as good as its raw equivalent. It is the first step in realizing Betimex’ goal of creating added value from coconut production and improving the value of Vietnamese agricultural products. By 2017, Cocoxim products have already gained traction among consumers in Asia, America, Australia and the EU. 

In 2018, powered by its 10,000-hectare organic farming initiative, Cocoxim announced a new, internationally-certified Organic Coconut Water line. In addition, Betrimex began to invest in producing coconut oil and coconut milk to further diversify the Cocoxim catalogue. 

Nowadays, Cocoxim is present not only within the borders of Vietnam but also in more than 40 countries worldwide, including major markets such as the U.S, the U.K, Germany, New Zealand, South Korea, Japan, the Middle East, etc. 

Sustainable Investment

Betrimex’ business philosophy of seeking environmental harmony informed the company’s decision to invest in a cutting-edge production line, as well as establishing Organic (EU, USDA, Australia, Japan, Korea) certified sourcing zones in Ben Tre to ensure the best quality of input materials. Betrimex is committed to adopting new farming methods and modern, eco-friendly production systems to preserve the ecosystem.

Betrimex has a long-standing partnership with coconut farmers and is committed to providing them with farming equipment such as fertilizers and pesticides; teaching them organic farming techniques to sustain their coconut crop; and underwriting and procuring their produce directly from the farm. These policies are aimed at empowering coconut farmers to unlock their potential and to increase their assets.

It is only after ensuring the coconuts were of the highest quality and after taking care of the livelihood of the coconut farmers that Betrimex set off on the road to bringing healthy, high quality products to consumers worldwide.