Northland looks set to be the launching pad for a new global food product.

Cocavo, made from a combination of organic coconut and avocado oils, has just had a "soft launch" in Whangarei and is positioned to fulfil the expectations of its investors who predict it to be this decade's hottest new food item.

The product is a world first, says Cocavo Ltd co-founder and general manager Neville Montefiore.

It was designed to be the ultimate cooking oil giving an extra 5 per cent of flavour and "pizazz" in every dish, he says.


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.

"The taste is very appealing and lends itself to a wide variety of cooking styles," Mr Montefiore said.

Cocavo, which is set to reach full production by next month, has attracted interest from celebrity chef Simon Gault who earlier this month, through his The Five Percent company, bought a minority holding in the business.

The oil is also being launched in the United States where the consumption of coconut oil is huge, Mr Montefiore says.

CalPure Foods is the company's US-based partner and distributor and has expanded its packaging lines and warehousing to accommodate demand.

In Whangarei a "start up" team of six is working at the company's Dyer St factory with the product available locally for several weeks and expected to be in supermarkets such as Pak'n Save in January.

Mr Montefiore says the timing was not the best to launch a new product locally but the focus was on export, so he was not concerned.

He expects Cocavo will expand rapidly and create dozens of new jobs in Whangarei.


The idea for the product came from inventor Chris Nathan who helped establish cold pressed, extra virgin avocado oil as a worldwide phenomenon in the 2000s.

A co-founder of Cocavo, and chief executive, he recently helped commission the Californian avocado oil plant that has been working 24 hours a day to meet demand.

Mr Montefiore says the coconut oil is coming from plantations in Western Samoa where the oil was extracted using a centrifugal method rather than expeller pressing.

The avocado oil comes from New Zealand and AvoPacific in California.

Cocavo also has plans for a revolutionary new process to make extra virgin coconut oil, in less than one hour from start to finish, processing an estimated 5000kg of coconuts an hour.

Mr Nathan says Cocavo will provide a huge financial boost for Pacific Island nations, where coconut harvests have declined due to low copra prices.


Cocavo has interest and orders for more than 11 million litres of bulk extra virgin coconut oil per annum, which is putting pressure on the company to get its plants operational.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg, as worldwide sales of coconut oil are in the multi-billions of litres," Mr Nathan said.

"Cocavo is working closely with Alfa Laval [a world leader in heat transfer, centrifugal separation and fluid handling] on the new technology and should have its first plant operational by July 2017."

He believes the financial benefit to Pacific Island nations will be "palpable with dramatic increases in jobs and household income" for coconut farmers, not to mention the local economies of the island nations.

The Five Percent and Cocavo relationship is more than a financial one with Mr Gault taking on a brand ambassador role. Mr Gault and his team will be working closely with Cocavo to develop recipes for customers throughout Asia Pacific and North America.