Cocavo's coconut and avocado oil products are getting noticed here in New Zealand and proving a hit in the US, says chief executive Chris Nathan.

The Whangarei-based start-up company was launched late last year.

Its main product - Cocavo - is made from a combination of organic coconut and avocado oils which was designed to be the ultimate cooking oil, Mr Nathan said.

Apart from being lower in saturated fat than regular coconut oil, it has the health benefits of avocado oil, plus all the high heat cooking qualities of both oils.


Its Natural and Turmeric/Lemon Zest variants have been selected as a finalist in two categories of this year's NZ Food Awards - the FoodBowl Novel Food or Beverage category and also in the Ministry for Primary Industries Food Safety Culture section.

Mr Nathan, who is co-owner of the business, said Cocavo's method of pressing avocado, whole lemons and turmeric root together, has been key to its success.

Co-owner and general manager Neville Montefiore (Monte) said the selection of its products in the NZ Food Awards was huge for Cocavo as a start-up company and will reinforce the brand as they continue to export into the US and UK.

"We are also making rapid progress getting Cocavo into the mainstream New Zealand supermarkets."

Mr Nathan said food brokers in the United States have embraced Cocavo.

"Nearly without exception, every buyer shown Cocavo's range immediately wanted to stock the oil."

The product is now in more than 800 stores in the US, Mr Nathan said.

"This trend is now continuing in NZ as Cocavo rolls out its range countrywide."

He said the company has products in 50 stores, including Pak'N Save, New World and 4 Square with 46 reps on the road marketing their oil in NZ.

He expects Cocavo to be in Whangarei supermarkets in October.

"Countdown head office has a presentation in October for a November listing nationwide."

Mr Nathan said the first shipment has arrived in the UK with 51 outlets in London alone.

As Cocavo becomes widely stocked the company will use aggressive marketing to drive sales, he said.

The bright attractive packaging was designed to "not be forgotten", making it easy for shoppers to locate in the busy oil section of supermarkets.

Mr Nathan had also assisted new coconut oil processors to improve their oil extraction techniques thus guaranteeing Cocavo oil at the quality it requires.

Cocavo's parent company, Evco International, is hoping to build its own coconut oil plant in Fiji to meet demand.

"The Fiji plant is still on the cards but raising enough [capital] to build it is an ongoing job," Mr Nathan said.

Other Northland finalists in the NZ Food Awards 2017 were: Maungatapere Berries which is a finalist in the Artisan Food Producers Award along with Nutting Better Ltd, of Whangarei, which produces All Black Salt. Maungatapere Berries is also a finalist in the MPI Primary Sector Products Award and MPI Food Safety Culture Award.

Awards winners will be announced on October 12.