SINGAPORE - Sales of coconut water have surged in Singapore, as some consumers believe that the beverage can ease side effects of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Importer and distributor Siam Coconut saw a 140 per cent spike in sales of the beverage in July, compared with June. Its fresh coconut sales also went up by 70 per cent over the same period.
"We have many retailers buying our coconut and coconut water to make coconut shakes as well as a lot of group-buy orders for home delivery and gifting to friends and family in anticipation of their vaccination," says Mr Kelvin Ngian, general manager of Siam Coconut.
Provenance Distributions has had to restock its CocoWater at retailers such as Cold Storage, FairPrice Finest and Redmart twice as fast now compared with the first half of the year.
The company's founder and director Kevin Tan says sales grew gradually from April, and are now about 60 per cent more than before June.
Mr Tan heard from his supermarket clients that "CocoWater is consumed a lot more during the pandemic, apparently because it helps to combat post-vaccination side effects, such as fever".
Sales are also up for two other coconut beverage brands.
Mr Frankie Chua, a manager of the supply chain department at Sheng Sheng F&B Industries, says sales of its Ice Cool coconut juice and water increased 10 per cent to 20 per cent in July and August compared with the same period last year.
A spokesman for Lam Soon Singapore, which distributes UFC Refresh Coconut Water, says there has been a 12 per cent increase in sales so far this year over the same period last year.
In Singapore, mass vaccinations against Covid-19 were rolled out on Feb 22, starting with seniors age 70 and above. This was later extended to younger age groups. From June 26, the vaccination exercise was accelerated to deliver as many as 80,000 vaccine doses daily, up from 47,000 doses. Common side effects from the vaccines include fever, fatigue, chills and muscle aches.
Sales executive Sheryll Lin, 26, stocked up on coconut water after friends told her that it helped to reduce the severity of the side effects.
"It eased my fever quite quickly after my second jab and I felt more energetic after I drank a bottle," she says. Her parents also "felt better" after consuming coconut water, she adds.
But doctors say there is no evidence that coconut water can help alleviate symptoms such as fever or body aches.
Dr Tan Teck Jack, chief executive of Northeast Medical Group, a clinic chain, says: "It is known to be no more hydrating than plain water despite containing electrolytes such as potassium, sodium and manganese."
But he adds that the electrolytes in coconut water are similar to those in most sports drinks, so it may benefit someone who is depleted of electrolytes due to prolonged high fever or excessive dehydration.
Dr Leong Choon Kit, a family physician at Mission Medical Clinic in Serangoon, says drinking fluids in general can help reduce the feeling of chills and inflammation. "It does not necessarily have to be coconut drinks. Soup, isotonic drinks, plain water and all beverages can help."