Innovating What America Wants

ZICO hopes to capitalize on America’s coconut water craze with three new innovations unveiled this week at Natural Products Expo West.

ZICO COCO-LIXIRS, ZICO Chilled Organic and ZICO Jalapeno-Mango extend the promise ZICO made 14 years ago when it introduced people to the inherent benefits of coconut water and affirm the pioneering brand’s commitment to innovation.

ZICO COCO-LIXIRS is a fusion of the new ZICO Chilled Organic coconut water and organic, cold-pressed juice.

“This is a true industry breakthrough,” said Tom Larsen, general manager, ZICO. “COCO-LIXIRS is the first-of-its-kind beverage to use organic coconut water as a base –which is naturally low in sugar and calories and loaded with electrolytes, and delivers a fresh, smooth drinking experience –combined with the nutrient density and greens-in-a-bottle goodness of cold-pressed juice in one convenient package.”

Innovative New Products

Three ZICO COCO-LIXIR flavors will hit the market in mid-April: For Lemon’s Sake (organic coconut water, lemon juice, pineapple juice, ginger and turmeric); Unbe-leaf-able (coconut water, cucumber, celery, kale, spinach, lemon, parsley and ginger); and Turn Up the Beet (coconut water, carrot, blueberry, apple, beet, lemon and baobob).

“We saw an opportunity to innovate against the cold-pressed juice space we all love, leveraging our equity in coconut water,” added Meghann Seidner, VP of marketing, ZICO. “We know that people reach to both coconut water and cold-pressed juices to help feel their best, so we believe this new innovation offers the best of both worlds with the added benefits of adaptagenic ingredients like ginger and turmeric.”

The Coconut Water Growth Market

Over the last decade, coconut water has evolved from a niche beveragebeloved by early adopters into a mainstream offering. It’s projected to be a $1.5 billion category by 2020.

“Fusion and chilled organics are what’s driving this growth,” Larsen said. “Coconut water is being used as a hero ingredient as more people continue to seek out its functional benefits. This enables us to break into new categories and create a ZICO masterbrand synonymous with holistic wellbeing, with offerings for different need states.”

Two flavors of ZICO Chilled Organic, original ZICO Natural and Pineapple Mango, hit stores in February.

A third innovation, ZICO Jalapeño Mango, joins Watermelon Raspberry, Chocolate (ZICO was the first to introduce this flavor into the category) and the original and bestselling ZICO Natural in the brand’s shelf-stable line of coconut waters. Data shows that people are 30 percent more likely to enter the category through a new flavor.

“Many people are very interested in coconut water and its health benefits, but it can be an acquired taste for some,” Seidner said. “Mango-flavored juices and spicier tastes are both in demand, which inspired us to go bold with this new offering. We think Jalapeño Mango’s fusion of sweet and spicy will help bring new folks into the category.”

Coke and ZICO

The Coca-Cola Company acquired ZICO in 2013 after taking a majority ownership stake in the brand the year before. In 2009, Coca-Cola North America’s Venturing & Emerging Brands (VEB) business unitfirst identified and invested in ZICO. VEB has leveraged Coke’s market insights, commercial capability and distribution network to help expand the ZICO footprint, while helping it to grow as a wholly-owned brand based in California powered by spirit and culture that enticed the early adopters over a decade ago.

VEB’s vision and reach also helped ZICO tap into the proprietary technology of a fellow VEB investment brand, Suja, for the cold-pressed juices used in ZICO COCO-LIXIRS. The two companies also collaborated on the meticulously curated fruits and vegetables and recipe development.

Larsen saidthese ZICO innovations support Coca-Cola’s ambition to become a total beverage company by offering more drinks people want for their evolving needs and occasions.