Chaokoh Coconut Milk - Why Is It Withdrawn From Sale?

Chaokoh coconut milk has been a favoured brand due to its high percentage of coconut. However, since animal cruelty at its farms have come to light, it is being boycotted in the UK, and we will no longer be selling it.

There are many great alternatives that don’t use animals to harvest coconuts, and we’ve listed these below.

What are the harvesting methods for coconuts?

Coconuts (a member of the palm family) are grown as a food crop, and cultivated for their meat and copra (the dried meat), the latter of which is pressed to release oil. Coconuts grow very high up in trees, and are ready to harvest once matured for between 6 and 12 months. 

Coconut Tree

Learn more about coconut milk here.

There are two ways coconuts are harvested:

  • Coconuts are harvested by hand. Humans often scale coconut trees to pick them by hand, use a pole to cut the coconuts down, or, in some instances, will use a climbing device to assist with the harvesting.
  • Alternatively young monkeys are being trained and forced to climb trees to pick coconuts, harvesting the coconuts for processing and sale worldwide.

Recently Chaokoh, one of the world’s leading coconut brands, have been discovered to be using monkeys to harvest coconuts. A PETA Asia investigation revealed the animals were being abducted and cruelly treated on farms to pick up to 1,000 coconuts a day. 

Reference: PETA investigations and BBC News

Why do we no longer stock Chaokoh coconut milk?

Chaokoh, one of Thailand’s major coconut milk producers, were using monkeys on its farm to harvest coconuts. As well as being treated inhumanely, many of the monkeys were abducted illegally. 

At Sous Chef, our mission is to bring you, our customers, the best, most exciting ingredients from across the world. And so we’ve sourced the best alternatives - including Aroy-D, which our buyer says is the most delicious coconut milk she’s tasted! 

Cruelty-free brands for coconut products

Below are a list of brands that have certified hand harvesting and no monkey labour is involved:

Aroy-D Coconut Milk, 400ml

Aroy-D coconut milk in one of Thailand’s favourite brands, and the liquid can be used in Thai green curries and coconut soups. 

Use this coconut milk in sweet bakes and drinks too, from coconut-pandan jam (kaya jam) to piña colada cocktails and Indonesian serabi cake.

Creamed Coconut, 200g

All KTC’s coconut oil is produced to meet the highest EU standard, and they confirm that monkeys are not involved in the picking and processing. Try this creamed coconut as an alternative for coconut milk. 

Creamed coconut or coconut cream is highly concentrated coconut in a firm block. Coconut cream makes the perfect store cupboard ingredient - just cut off a small piece, and dilute in water to make just the amount of coconut milk you need. Then put back in the cupboard for next time.

To make coconut milk for cooking, dissolve 50g creamed coconut in 150ml of water. This pack will make 800g of coconut milk.

Khanum use coconuts harvested by humans in their products. The coconuts are grown in Sri Lanka.

Khanum creamed coconut or coconut cream is highly concentrated coconut, in a firm block. The cream is the fattiest part of coconut milk, which has been separated and hardened.

Use it as a substitute for desiccated coconut, or dissolve in hot water and add to Massaman curry.

Shop all Southeast Asian ingredients, and try our coconut & cardamom barfi recipe.


  • Hi Nikos. We have confirmed with the Aroy-D that they do not use monkeys to harvest coconuts. We’ve listed the alternative coconut brands we stock. Thanks so much

    Ellie @ Sous Chef on

  • hello. you only have 3 mentioned above as alternatives. Are there any more? Plus i heard that Aroy-D is one of the ones that uses monkeys? Is this not true

    Nikos on

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