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New flavors aim to extend coconut water’s appeal

By Caroline Scott-Thomas , 05-Mar-2010

Virginia Dare has released a range of natural flavors for coconut water, which has been steadily gaining interest over the past couple of years, saying that they could boost its popularity still further.

Coconut water is the clear liquid from the center of young green coconuts and has been marketed as a healthy, natural alternative to sports drinks, as it contains vitamins, minerals and electrolytes, but is low in calories and fat-free. The drink’s image has also been enhanced with a host of recent celebrity endorsements, including one from Madonna early this year, when she invested $1.5m in Vita Coco, one of the leading players on the American market.

New York-based flavor firm Virginia Dare said it hopes to tap into the trend, with a range of new flavors designed specifically for coconut water, including mango, orange, lemon-lime, guava, pineapple and passionfruit.

Director of marketing communications and research at Virginia Dare Paulette Kerner told FoodNavigator-USA.com that the company’s new flavors could help coconut water appeal to a wider audience, including those who might not like its natural taste.

“The coconut water people are doing a really good job,” Kerner said. “[The new flavors] will give them a natural line extension…It’s just like milk. For years, you just had milk and then you got all these different flavors.”

Coconut waters naturally vary in flavor depending on where they are grown, but most of the coconut waters sold in the United States are sourced from Brazil, where the juice has a milder, less sweet flavor than that from the Indian subcontinent.

By developing an all-natural range of flavors, Virginia Dare’s new product line is also intended to appeal to manufacturers responding to consumer demand for natural foods and drinks.

According to figures from market research organization Mintel, ‘natural’ was the top product claim during 2009, featuring on 23 percent of new product launches.

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