The recent popularity of coconut is easily visible on market shelves—coconut oil, coconut sugar, and other coconut-based products are, in the words of one food market writer, “having a moment.” New Nutrition Business noted a 318% increase in coconut-based products launched from 2010 to 2016, and coconut water has been enjoying the apex of this rise since the beginning of the decade. According to Euromonitor International, the volume of coconut water consumed globally grew by 228% from 2011 to 2016. Market Research Engine’s latest report expects continued success for the coconut water market, projecting an increase to a $2.5 billon market with an average CAGR of 15% through 2024.
Coconut Water Market Projects Growth to $2.5 Billion by 2024
Coconut water has enjoyed tremendous success, in large part due to its accessibility. It’s not a major jump from water to electrolyte-infused water, and from there, to naturally electrolyte rich coconut water. Coconut water’s qualities and flavor have allowed it to appeal to consumers looking for refreshment as well as to enhance hydration or athletic performance.
Even as they are enjoying present success, many companies profiting from consumer interest in coconut water are also adhering to the advice of experts such as The Coconut Company and the Coconut Development Board to pursue product innovation as the key for continued growth. Harmless Harvest, a coconut water brand known for embracing the pink hue that sometimes occurs when the liquid’s natural antioxidants react with light, is one of many brands exploring what the coconut has to offer beyond water.
In 2017, the company debuted its probiotic line at the San Francisco-based Fancy Food Show. The probiotic cultured coconut beverages (think dairy-free kefir) combine coconut water with coconut meat, probiotic cultures, and organic fruits. In addition to adding to the Harmless Harvest product line, the introduction of Harmless Coconut Probiotics also allows the company to use more of the coconut, generating more profit and less waste.
“Harmless Coconut Probiotics is an important innovation for the company and industry,” says Harmless Harvest VP of Marketing & Innovation Deanna Fleming, “because it supports our ecosystem and it allows us to truly ‘crack’ the coconut, delivering consumers the delicious water and meat and bringing us closer to achieving a zero-waste ingredient model.”
“Cracking the coconut,” as Fleming mentioned, means a number of things. First, using more of the coconut itself—generating new, profitable products from what would otherwise become waste material. Secondly, taking advantage of more of the coconut’s properties. By incorporating the meat of the coconut into the probiotic drinks, each serving of Harmless Coconut Probiotics provides consumers with 5 grams of dietary fiber and medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). Last, but certainly not least, the probiotic line taps into multiple drivers of consumer interest: dairy-free alternatives, gut microbiome and digestive health support, zero-waste and sustainability.
Harmless Harvest is a great example of the benefits available to companies that are willing to leverage the versatility of coconut to pursue systemic innovations. As a self-described ecosystem-based business, Harmless Harvest is committed to driving profitability through sustainability and ethical sourcing. Their innovations meet multiple needs by increasing demand for organic coconuts and the Fair for Life practices that guide their supply chain, while also reducing the waste generated in processing and creating new, value-added products.
As coconut continues to enjoy its moment, Harmless Harvest provides an excellent blueprint for sustaining the tropical plant’s success, even beyond coconut water. Their model also points to growing consumer interest in the full product journey, not just the end result—good news for organic growers and producers.