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Company Profile Of TM And Resurgence Of Coconut Based Foods In The United States

Turtle Mountain, known by its primary brand SO Delicious Dairy Free, was founded in 1987 and is headquartered in Springfield, Oregon. Founder and Chief Executive Officer Mark Brawerman saw a void in the market for products that were dairy-free but did not compromise on taste and began developing dairy-free frozen dessert recipes. In 1999 John Tucker joined as Director of New Product Development and together Brawerman and Tucker built a dynamic team focused on creating a world class dairy free foods company. Over the ensuing years the team’s innovation and determination transformed SO Delicious into a company that today is recognized as an industry leader in providing premium dairy- free frozen desserts, beverages, cultured products and creamers. The So Delicious Dairy brand is sold throughout the U.S. and Canada, and exports product to South Korea and Australia; experiencing significant double digit growth for the past five years. The portfolio of products includes coconut, soy and almond-based ice creams, frozen novelties, beverages, yogurt and creamers. The Company operational & technical capabilities, distribution model, product portfolio, and projected growth are outlined in the presentation. 

Through its Advocacy Marketing model the Company enjoys a unique level of “Talk Value” that results in significant earned media impressions including multiple reviews on key US media vehicles including: The Today Show and Real Simple Magazine and top- rated Dr. Oz talk show in 2012. A compilation of public relations clips is shared demonstrating how the So Delicious Dairy Free brand is driving coconut into mainstream market with its portfolio of premium coconut milk based products.

Coconut as a food stuff is emerging from the negative backlash of the 1980’s when it was wrongly vilified as a leading cause of heart disease. Decades later coconut is slowly climbing back into the American diet where its perception as a whole food is gaining traction.  Historical and projected growth trends in dairy free food and coconut based food are provided. 

Current and future growth is a result of shifting consumer demands as health and wellness continue to play a strong role in the American diet. This trends represents a double edged sword for coconut based foods as a result of several factors: past perceptions linger, the strong link between saturated fats and heart disease and a weak body of evidence supporting the emerging perception of coconut as a health food.  A comparative nutritional panel is provided. These hurdles prescribe the need to follow the model followed by the California Almond Board which in a  collaborative effort with  growers shifted consumer’s  perception of almonds as a calorie laden snack to a superfood. An exploration of this model is provided, including a brief overview of what constitutes a health claim per US food law.  

The final portion of the presentation provides insights as to the strong sustainability halo that surrounds coconuts. The presenter will provide data compiled from a company sponsored third party life cycle analysis which assesses the environmental impact of coconut farming and processing as compared to dairy, soy and almond 

The presentation concludes with a few thoughts on the importance of industry collaboration. Drawing from his past experience as Executive Officer of the International Ice Cream Consortium and the success achieved by the California Almond Board the presenter will challenge the audience to look at ways to optimize collaboration; from plantation to processors to consumer packaged goods marketers. The size of the prize is significant but will only be realized through a collaborative effort between government and industry.

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