File this in the ‘Oh really?’ FYI category…
Coconut water is everywhere! Not just your local Bikram studio anymore. Just ask the huge redheaded Rihanna at all the bus stops. So, coco-hydraters out there, what’s all the fuzz about anyway? An in-depth article at Slate takes a stab at how folks have become so coo coo for coconut water all of a sudden (particularly in the US) and how top companies like Vita Coco and Zico have tapped the broader market to become bodega fridge staples.
For perspective, current leader Vita Coco has skyrocketed from sales of $20 million in 2009 to $40 million in 2010 to an expected $100 million in 2011. That’s a lot of coconuts. How did these companies turn such a profit and lure in the celebriyogi likes of Madonna and Matthew McConaughey? Yoga!
“We couldn’t afford a $100 million marketing campaign to reach everyone,” says [Zico CEO Mark] Rampolla, “so we needed to start small, with a targeted audience. We found out that yoga practitioners were fans of coconut water. They understood electrolytes but thought Gatorade was the antichrist.”
As a result, the initial positioning for coconut water focused on hydration and the importance of replenishing electrolytes like potassium when exercising. Jet-setting yoga hippie chicks were also powerless to resist coconut water’s culturally progressive, world beat vibe.
Or something like that. But anyone down dogging could’ve guessed yoga was the coco culprit. Perhaps we didn’t know quite how powerful it was though, until Coca Cola snagged a 20% stake in Zico a couple of years ago. More yoga (a billion dollar biz worldwide, mind you) equals more coconut water, oh and more mega corporations sinking their teeth into it.
Mostly, though, it’s because of this whole “wellness” trend we’ve got going on.
“…the successful arrival of coconut water on these shores has more to do with yoga than you might think. The wellness trend has inspired several profitable beverage launches—inspiring massive bottled water brands like Dasani and Aquafina, alternative sports drink concoctions like Vitamin Water, and single-ingredient juices like Pom Wonderful. Both Vita Coco and close competitor Zico were launched in 2004, near the dawn of the current yoga craze, and their early success was built on the (supple, flexible) backs of yoga-loving women.”
Now the mondo companies are preparing campaigns to reach beyond the yoga and fitness worlds, because they have to grow and of course make more money – Get ready for the Gaga for Coco ads! But will the public lose their appetite for the sweetness?
Our Southeast Asian friends will tell you it’s something they drink as frequent as, well, water. But the juice of young coconut’s can be somewhat of an acquired taste, with some folks finding it delicious and refreshing, while others could compare it to bilge water. We’re of the former, and enjoy the high potassium, electrolytes (yadda yadda) and thirst-quenching qualities of coconut water post-yoga, post-long day at the office, or you know, post- marathon vinoyoga. Though, admittedly, the corporate curtsying does leave a bad taste in our mouths.
What do you think, will the coconut water trend sustain or will coco go the way of the dodo?
If you prefer your coco water with a little less RiRi and biznatch suits, try an indie brand like Amy and Brian OR find yourself some young coconuts, pardner.
- Beverage Titans Duke It Out Over Coconut Water, Coca-Cola Buys Stake in Zico
- Coo Coo for Coconut Water: The Next Big Thing in Packaged Hydration? Not Just for Yoga
- Yoga Alliance Approved, My Ass