Coconut water continues its surge in popularity

Thursday, 30 October, 2014

Recent efforts to promote coconut water as a natural and healthy soft drink have moved it into the mainstream in the US and, according to Innova Market Insights, manufacturers are now focusing on developing the European market.

Coconut water is made with juice of young, green coconuts. It features calcium, magnesium and potassium with no need for additives or sweeteners, while also offering many of the isotonic benefits of mainstream sports drinks.

Innova Market Insights research revealed that coconut featured in over 4% of global soft drinks launches in the 12 months ending June 2014, rising to nearly 10% in the US. However, this also covers the use of any coconut flavours and ingredients, not just coconut water. Coconut featured in over 6% of global juice drink launches in 2014, up from 4.5% in the previous 12-month period and from less than 2% five years ago. This rises to over 13% in the US market, where over 8% of sports and energy drinks launches also featured coconut water.

“With sales of traditional carbonates and still drinks relatively static in many markets, the industry appears to be turning to coconut water, which seems well placed for the task of driving growth with its exotic image, unusual flavour and natural hydration properties,” Lu Ann Williams, director of innovation at Innova Market Insights notes. “These features, along with the fact that the leading multinational soft drinks companies are already taking an active role, suggest that the sector is on course for significant further development,” she concludes.

In the US, the relatively well-established market is now segmenting to maintain momentum. A review of launch activity over the past year includes a coconut water variant of a leading US energy drinks brand, as well as protein-fortified products. Flavoured products featuring coconut water with lemonade, espresso coffee, chocolate and even chilli extract have also been introduced, as well as more carbonated lines and products specifically for children.

Levels of interest in coconut water also appear to be rising in Europe, where the UK has seen particularly high levels of new product activity in recent months. Nearly 8% of juice and juice drinks launches featured coconut in the 12 months to the end of June 2014, up from less than 5.5% in the previous year.

Recent new product activity in the UK has largely followed trends set in the US, with the leading brands introducing orange and lemonade variants, kids’ pouched ranges and a 1 L format.

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