GOOD

Coconut Jerky Is Probably Going To Be Your New Favorite Snack

A tasty solution to a surprising problem with coconut water

Coconut water, a $1 billion industry, has been sweeping the food and fitness worlds. A quick glance at grocery store shelves offers every variety and flavor you could imagine—but the drink is more wasteful than you might think.

The Philippines and Indonesia are the world’s largest producers of coconuts, but often in the coconut water frenzy, the meat is just a byproduct and left behind in the husk. One company is looking to change all that—and make yet another delicious product in the process.


Seth Syberg makes coconut jerky out of discarded coconut meat.

Cocoburg turns perishable young coconut meat that would otherwise go to waste into minimally processed jerky with bold, umami flavor.

[quote position="right" is_quote="true"]That trifecta is the most satiating one on earth.[/quote]

“They get the water out [of the coconuts] and don’t know what to do with the meat,” explains founder Seth Syberg. explains. We’re a perfect symbiotic relationship. We can be a value add so they don’t have to throw that stuff out.”

Seth Syberg first got the idea for Cocoburg while traveling across seven countries in Southeast Asia. He was on a vegan diet at the time, and stumbled upon an intriguing recipe for coconut jerky online that he began experimenting with abroad.

Upon returning home to Brooklyn, he perfected the jerky recipe in his Williamsburg loft and used Kickstarter to raise funds for production. In just a few days and supported by over 500 people, Syberg exceeded his $10,000 goal by 130 percent.

He very quickly determined that producing coconut jerky in Bushwick was not economically feasible (producing a single 2-ounce bag cost $10, meaning the price on grocery shelves would approach $36) and moved all manufacturing to the Philippines.

“We spent months researching hundreds of potential partners in coconut growing regions throughout the world,” Syberg says. “We finally found great partners in the Philippines through the USDA organic certifications database.”

After many months of emailing and Skyping back and forth, followed by a face-to-face meeting, they were finally in business.

First, farmers harvest raw young coconut meat, which is then marinated with various spices and vegetables and dehydrated to a chewy, savory jerky that could fool many meat-eaters. Cocoburg currently offers three flavors—original, ginger teriyaki and chili lime—available online and in stores throughout the Midwest.

Syberg works on a batch of jerky.

“We aim to work direct-trade with farmers in the Philippines and create jobs,” Syberg says. “The folks we work with there basically become family. These are good jobs, not crappy work. As we grow and as we’re able to gain more leverage in the market, we’ll be able to affect the price of coconuts for farmers. It’s a broken system and we will be there to help fix it.”

As the company continues to grow, Syberg plans to send trucks around to small farms and better organize independent farmers to consolidate efforts in fulfilling larger orders, which will be necessary as Cocoburg grows. The nutrient profile of coconut jerky balances fiber, good fat, and protein.

“That trifecta is the most satiating one on earth,” Syberg says. “It fits into so many different diets and lifestyles and people love trying new things.”

Plus, there’s no added sugar, only natural sugar from coconut meat and sap. Right now the team is still small—just three employees—along with Cocoburg’s small farmer sources in the Philippines. Syberg says that moving production to the Philippines and scaling it up has been the most difficult part of the process, but when the first pallet was ready for shipping out of the Philippines, it was all worth it.

“I am stoked to be bringing something awesome and innovative to the market,” Syberg says. “But I really want to make a change in the world. Cocoburg ties my love of clean eating with my desire to help people.”

Food
Screenshot via Sweden.se/Twitter (left) Wikimedia Commons (right)

Greta Thunberg has been dubbed the "Joan of Arc of climate change" for good reason. The 16-year-old activist embodies the courage and conviction of the unlikely underdog heroine, as well as the seemingly innate ability to lead a movement.

Thunberg has dedicated her young life to waking up the world to the climate crisis we face and cutting the crap that gets in the way of fixing it. Her speeches are a unique blend of calm rationality and no-holds-barred bluntness. She speaks truth to power, dispassionately and unflinchingly, and it is glorious.

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet
Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
Science

The disappearance of 40-year-old mortgage broker William Earl Moldt remained a mystery for 22 years because the technology used to find him hadn't been developed yet.

Moldt was reported missing on November 8, 1997. He had left a nightclub around 11 p.m. where he had been drinking. He wasn't known as a heavy drinker and witnesses at the bar said he didn't seem intoxicated when he left.

Keep Reading Show less
Communities
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics
via Gage Skidmore

The common stereotypes about liberals and conservatives are that liberals are bleeding hearts and conservatives are cold-hearted.

It makes sense, conservatives want limited government and to cut social programs that help the more vulnerable members of society. Whereas liberals don't mind paying a few more dollars in taxes to help the unfortunate.

A recent study out of Belgium scientifically supports the notion that people who scored lower on emotional ability tests tend to have right-wing and racist views.

Keep Reading Show less
Politics