PepsiCo, Vita Coco, tight lipped on takeover rumors

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Vita Coco's new coconut cream and coconut water combo on show at Expo West
Vita Coco's new coconut cream and coconut water combo on show at Expo West

Related tags Coconut water Milk Vita coco

PepsiCo has declined to comment on reports it is in talks to acquire All Market Inc, the owner of coconut water brand Vita Coco (an allied brand of Dr Pepper Snapple Group).

Citing “people familiar with the matter​,” Reuters reported​ that PepsiCo has “offered less than the $1bn that All Market's owners have been seeking to sell the company, and there is no certainty that negotiations will result in a deal.”

Founded in 2004 in New York, Vita Coco (which also declined to comment on the Reuters article) now has sales in 30 countries and is the global leader in coconut water, with a 26% share of a market worth $2.5bn, according to Euromonitor International.

High-profile investors include Verlinvest, Madonna, Matthew McConaughey, Demi Moore, and T.C. Pharma, the owner of Red Bull China.

Vita Coco has 45% share of US coconut water market, claims company

Speaking to FoodNavigator-USA at the Expo West show in March, Prinz Pinakatt, general manager at Vita Coco North America, said Vita Coco had a 45% of the US coconut water market, which was still growing, with the healthiest growth coming from the premium and super premium segments: "Household penetration is still only 11%, so there is still a lot of runway."

Coconut milk

Vita Coco is now attempting to carve out new territory in the coconut milk market - currently dominated by brands such as Silk and SO Delicious (which use coconut cream and purified water, plus cane sugar) - with a lower-sugar product combining coconut water with coconut cream and a small amount of purified water, with no sugar added.

Pinakatt said the coconut milk - which he claimed worked well in hot beverages as well as with cereal or as a standalone beverage - tasted better than rival products and had a mouthfeel closer to dairy milk in part because of the coconut water.

He added: "Many coconut milk brands are mostly water with a bit of coconut and then they add gums (eg. gellan gum, locust bean gum) as thickeners, whereas we use coconut water, which has a higher viscosity, so we don't have to add thickeners.​" (The cellulose gel and gum in the Vita Coco product serves as a stabilizer, he claimed.)

Asked about the size of the prize, he said VitaCoco was going after a sizeable share of the entire milk market. "That's the addressable market. We don't think in terms of 'alternative milk.'"

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