By Jim Tonkin
Beer and soda sales are down. Functional drinks are up. The four growth categories are energy shots, relaxation drinks, protein drinks and coconut water.
Why coconut water, why now? Coconut water is hitting a chord. There are 89 countries around the world that harvest coconuts, so supply is not an issue. It's going to be a gigantic international packaged product. Coconuts are not so well known inside the U.S. but that is not so around the globe.
If you look at any of the beverage publications that rely on scanned data, you'll see how many new coconut waters have come on the market in the last five years. VitaCoco, Zieco and ONE, which stands for One Natural Experience – those are the three major competitors in a market that might have $60 million in sales. Coke bought an 18.5 percent portion in Zieco, Pepsi will buy ONE, and VitaCoco has a distribution agreement with Dr Pepper/Snapple Group but it's privately funded now. I'm associated with Zieco but I believe in it anyway. We're looking at a billion-dollar brand in Zieco. If Zieco is a billion-dollar brand that tells you how big the category is.
If you think about what Gatorade did in developing a whole confluence of electrolytes, those were synthetic electrolytes. In coconut water, we have 670mg potassium per 11-oz serving, and these are found naturally inside coconut water.
My daily supps: Men's multiple, coQ10, Wellmune immune primer and 81mg baby aspirin because I'm 60.
Jim Tonkin is president of HealthyBrand Builders.