Last Updated: 11/6/2009 9:53 AM
Sunkist Naturals has thrown its hat into the coconut water ring, creating a 450 ml (15 oz.) offering that, like their other products, is not shelf-stable. The product has three ingredients, coconut water, evaporated cane juice, and citric acid, which result in the product having a noticeably different flavor than their single-ingredient competitors. Unfortunately, we’re not convinced that this approach is better, especially since the product loses the portability that you get from a Tetra Pak. Furthermore, the added sugar and citric acid take away the natural smoothness of young coconut water. Instead, you’ve got a mellow note of coconut, followed by some sweetness, before a slightly acidic note hits your tongue on the way out. We’re exactly not sure what the technical reasons are for this approach (US based production?), but simpler is better in our opinion. However, on the packaging front, Sunkist Naturals might have a leg up on some of the competition, with a resealable plastic bottle that feels like something for the mainstream. In addition, with the product being sold in produce aisles, they have an added point of differentiation that currently makes them the only coconut water found in that section of the store. Still, it’s hard to see this product (which is one of over a dozen in the Sunkist line) getting serious momentum versus the other coconut water brands. Overall, it’s good, but far from great, with the packaging currently the product’s strongest asset.