Coconut Oil Salesmen
Thursday, July 20th, 2017
Our Scottish PR Agency Casts an Eye on the Rise and Fall of Coconut Oil
FOOD is big business and, increasingly, so too is cooking the “healthy” way.
The Body Coach and other multi-media celebs I try my best to ignore are gaining traction with their “healthy” meal suggestions promising delicious, restaurant- quality scran without the corresponding bill or waistband.
What many observers will have noticed is a penchant for replacing butter and more traditional cooking oils for their tropical cousin – coconut oil.
So, to what does this latest food fad owe its popularity, and is it deserved?
Celebrity endorsements have been an advertising trick for some time but with the rise of social media it has become an even better way of directly reaching those celebs’ captive audience.
I don’t personally follow the body coach but I’ve seen enough (first three seconds) of his videos to see that:
- Everything he cooks must taste of coconut
- Coconut oil is essential to his version of a healthy diet
Whether or not he is paid for this privilege (I don’t think he is) he is performing a valuable service to the coconut growers of the world.
To live by his example, it would seem there is no place in your life for olive oil which current research backs as healthier and better for your heart.
In fact, at this stage, there are no valid or reliable studies to date supporting the health claims attributed to coconut oil, though it’s early days.
Beware the ‘natural’
OK, you don’t actually need to beware – it’s just that the term natural has no functional meaning in today’s society.
Try pinning down what is natural and what is not.
Is it something not man-made? Is it something not made in a lab? Is it not the process of selective breeding?
If you want to avoid human interference you’re probably going to have to stop eating just about everything from bananas to milk as the guiding hand of humanity has bred the undesirable characteristics out of so many arable products that barely anything is untouched.
Remember how you used to have to salt aubergines? Yep, that’s selective breeding.
On top of this, you might wonder why we find natural things so desirable in the first place.
Sure mangoes and quinoa are natural but so is disease, death and getting picked last in P.E. – there’s loads of horrible stuff out there.
‘Natural’ has benefitted hugely from media and consumer bias over the years.
Choosing your words carefully will always make a huge difference.
What is surprising is that coconut oil got away with it for so long.
Why was there any surprise that this contained as much fat as beef dripping? Its oil, of course it’s made of fat, even if it has fallen from a tree.
There are a lot of differences in different fats (I’m told), but as we’ve already discussed coconut oil isn’t top of the table in this department anyway.
Again, a public relations stroke of genius from peddlers of coconut oil and not a difficult one.
Coconut milk and flesh have long been viewed as a health foods so it wasn’t a hard sell to the health and fitness crowd.
It is hard to over-estimate the effect ambassadors and other products can have by proxy.
It’s a principle advertising has used for decades and there’s no reason to think that it wouldn’t be even more effective if it comes from someone who doesn’t look like they’re on the payroll.
If you go all in on the gym and slim down every meal, or partake a little too readily in dripping on toast (yum), you can’t deny that coconut oil has grown a big following – there’s no doubt this is down, in part, to good PR – whether paid for or not.
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