It’s known and celebrated for a vast selection of namesake private label goods, but the relationship that Trader Joe’s shares with ZICO is a special one, indeed. ZICO is one of a handful of brand-name products — and the only coconut water — that Trader Joe’s carries in its stores. Now, the two companies have taken their close arrangement one step further with the quirky natural grocer’s exclusive release of new variety ZICO Tropical.
The new variety is the Coke-owned company’s second coconut water and juice blend, following Strawberry Banana, which ZICO launched at the 2013 Expo West show. Tropical contains coconut water from concentrate, pineapple juice, orange juice, passionfruit juice, and guava puree. Packaged in a 1 L Tetra Pak, the product has 60 calories per 8 oz. serving and retails for $3.69.
A ZICO representative said that company ran a test launch of the new flavor at Trader Joe’s locations in Texas before rolling it out to the retailer’s stores in the Northeast within the last two weeks. Over the next few months, Trader Joe’s will gradually add ZICO Tropical to its shelves nationwide.
With the notable exception of Charles Shaw wines (aka “Two-Buck Chuck”), the exclusive deal with ZICO appears to be rare for Trader Joe’s. And while its chief rival, Whole Foods, often works with suppliers on short-term exclusives, it’s unclear as to whether ZICO will eventually be able to take the Tropical variety into other retailers.
Aside from a few very brief mentions about ZICO Tropical in its social media feed, ZICO kept the introduction rather hush-hush. Although its website lists the product and includes a mention about the exclusive with Trader Joe’s, the new flavor launch is one that the company held close to the chest.