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.
Wild is not the first flavor firm to introduce a flavor range for coconut water – GSB Flavor Creators and Virginia Dare, for example, have both introduced flavors specifically for use with coconut water – but Wild said that it is going beyond flavors to create total drinks concepts. These could include using coconut water as a percentage of a drink blended with iced tea or juices, or with added health and wellness ingredients.
The company’s coconut water flavors include mango, passion fruit, açai berry, strawberry guava, lime citrus, tropical pineapple, and pomegranate berry. Senior manager of marketing trends and consumer research at Wild, Jessica Jones-Dille, told FoodNavigator-USA.com that exotic and superfruit flavors are still “a hot button for consumers and therefore for new product development”.
Mature coconuts, fresher flavor
The company has also developed a young green coconut flavor to allow coconut water beverage manufacturers to use the (cheaper) water from more mature coconuts, while rounding out any associated off-taste.
“This flavor can make coconut water from older coconuts taste more like fresh young green coconut water. As Americans become more familiar with coconut waters as the products are more widely marketed, they will become more cognizant of the differing taste profiles,” Jones-Dille said.
Wild said it has also developed coconut water drink concepts that add functional health and wellness ingredients. These include a sports drink with added electrolytes and vitamin C, a coconut water-green tea combination with green tea, green tea polyphenols, and vitamin C, and a coconut water-white tea with white tea, white tea polyphenols, and vitamin C.