News highlights, market trends, and original data analysis related to the U.S. retail food & beverage industry … by Jay Nargundkar
This morning Quartz published a succinct recap of “the American coconut water craze”, on which three competitors are capitalizing to the tune of a combined $400 million in sales last year:
Vita Coco, co-founded by Ira Liran and Michael Kirban in 2003 after a fortuitous encounter with two Brazilian women in a bar, dominates the market it created. It has successfully held off competing brands Zico and O.N.E. owned by beverage titans Coca-Cola and Pepsi, respectively. While this packaged coconut water can’t match the taste of drinking directly from a coconut, most consumers haven’t had that experience.
They are attracted to the category by the (somewhat overstated) health claims about coconut water — that it an excellent low-calorie re-hydration beverage. The Quartz article also points to the growing popularity of blended flavor beverages (I had a coconut-orange juice blend just this weekend) to mask the unfamiliar coconut taste.