As a lactose and sugar-free alternative to dairy-based yogurts, COYO Coconut Milk Yogurt has quickly established itself as one of the healthiest and tastiest products on the market. Bethany Eaton, Director and Nutritionist at COYO, tells EatSleepDrink more about the inspiring story behind the company.
Having spent countless hours experimenting with coconut milk yogurt recipes in her kitchen, Bethany Eaton was desperate to produce a yogurt that offered a choice to those for whom dairy wasn’t an option. Having stumbled across an identical business in Australia, Bethany was able to make her dream a reality and, today, COYO is available in mixed berry, pineapple or natural flavour. Owing to the growing demand for lactose-free products, the company will shortly be bringing out an ice cream too, which can be enjoyed in acai berry, chocolate or natural flavours.
As Bethany begins by explaining, the road to her coconut milk yogurt recipe was a painful but, ultimately, rewarding one. “The only dairy-free option at the time was a soya and pea protein yogurt, which, let’s face it, didn’t taste great. I was nearly at my wits end when I trawled the internet and found Henry and Sandra Gosling, who had the same idea as me and had set up their own business in Australia.
“Henry had been through the same trials and tribulations as I had but he was one step ahead and had just released COYO into the Australian market,” she recalls. “It was at that moment that I knew we had to work together and bring COYO to the UK. After many conversations, we finally decided to produce COYO over here in East Sussex and let the public in the UK finally have the choice of a dairy-free yogurt”.
Given the unique status of their unique product, it was imperative that COYO’s branding reflected the concept and image of the company in the most authentic way possible, as Bethany confirms. “Branding is everything to us. Our company image is portrayed through the ruffled edges and parchment paper of our packaging, which represents a classic, confident and boutique look. Because I am a trained nutritionist, when a coconut milk yogurt never arrived, I decided to do it myself. From experience, I knew that people felt as I did and that those in the nutritional world would be excited about the launch of COYO”.
Creating a storm
“When we first told the UK press about the launch of COYO it was immediately picked up and published and we started getting calls and emails about our product straight away,” she affirms. “This is because COYO is unique – there is nothing else like it anywhere in the world, except for Australia, of course! Our customers recognise that we are supplying them with a high quality product – one that is made with affection and passion, and one that contains nothing artificial. Indeed, all of our ingredients are ethically sourced and our standards are extremely high”.
Owing to the increasing number of people who are lactose intolerant, COYO offers the perfect solution to customers who want to continue to enjoy great-tasting yogurt and ice cream. Available in convenient 125gm, 250gm and 400gm containers, COYO is also delicious on fruit; a wonderful addition to curries and fish dishes; as well as a great base for mayonnaise, coleslaw and potato salad. “I would attribute a lot of the buzz about our products to their genuine uniqueness in the market,” Bethany tells us. “People are excited to have a choice and coconut is obviously a big draw at the moment with its fantastic health benefits and great taste”.
Building on success
Having capitalised on the demand for COYO in the UK, Bethany is unsurprisingly determined to grow the company by increasing its product range and ensuring that quality remains unbeatable. “We are passionate about the product that we produce and because Henry, Sandra and I are all vegetarian, we have a genuine philosophy that informs all of our products. Indeed, COYO products have the benefit of being made from coconut as well as the added health benefits of probiotic cultures.
“In terms of our most popular products, our natural coconut milk yogurt is the real standout,” she affirms. “Because it can be simply eaten as a yogurt, used in cooking or for dressings it is an extremely versatile product, which obviously helps its popularity. All of our ingredients are sourced from reliable suppliers and they are all traceable too. Indeed, as our volumes increase we have already set up production plans to ensure that this quality process will continue. At COYO, bringing the customer a high quality product is paramount and always will be”.
Under the company that Bethany owns – Planet Coconut – COYO looks to be going from strength-to-strength and with the London 2012 Olympics on the horizon, there couldn’t be a better time for her to showcase these dairy-free products to the rest of the world, although she remains coy about just what we can expect in the coming months. “We have some exciting products and new flavours in the pipeline for COYO, so watch this space!”
When asked about the driving factors behind the company’s success, Bethany again draws our attention to the passion behind the product, as she concludes by affirming. “I know I keep saying it but passion and belief in our products are the two attributes that really stand out for me. COYO has the added bonus of also tasting great and we have already been shortlisted for two Free From Awards. As a testament to this, my favourite product at the moment is our natural yogurt, which I have in my smoothies every day for breakfast”.
Having already taken the UK and Australia by storm, it is surely only a matter of time before the rest of the world is hooked on the delicious, dairy-free products of COYO. Indeed, with the London 2012 Olympics providing a unique marketing opportunity, EatSleepDrink is tipping COYO for another bumper year.
Visit: www.coyo.co.uk for all things coconut!