Global consumption has risen by 60% in the last 10 years, thanks mainly to Latin America and Asia. Growth in the US has only occurred relatively recently, with volumes jumping from less than half a million litres to almost 200m litres in 2014.
PepsiCo and Coca-Cola are both present in the coconut water scene, with the brands O.N.E. (PepsiCo) and Kero Coco (PepsiCo) and Zico (Coca-Cola).
Emma Wright, analyst, Canadean, says existing beverage companies are eying up expansions into coconut water. In April, juice and smoothie company Innocent (owned by Coca-Cola) entered the category with its own brand of coconut water. Meanwhile, Ferolito, Vultaggio & Sons (iced / RTD company) has its brand CocoZona.
Coconut water was used in Asia during WW2 to re-hydrate wounded soldiers in hospital. It has gathered popularity thought its health positioning, promoted as being low in fat, calories and sodium. Meanwhile it is rich in potassium, and contains electrolytes. However, the beverage continues to attract attention from critics, who are question the actual health benefits.
Nevertheless, coconut water’s health positioning will continue to boost the category, as more and more people seek healthier versions of soft drinks, said Wright.
Most coconuts used in coconut water are sourced from Brazil or Thailand, where the beverage has been consumed for many years.
In India, much of the coconut water sold is unpackaged or sold by street vendors straight from the coconut. However, new single serve carton brands have been springing up in the country, including Tendo (Pure Tropic), Cocjal (Jain Agro) and Real Activ (Dabur).