Expo West Debut: Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, 16 oz.

Harmless Harvest is set to launch a 16 oz. bottle for its 100 percent raw and organic coconut water. The new package size has a suggested retail price of $4.99 and will be distributed nationally – along with its 8 oz. counterpart – at natural foods stores, grocery stores, and co-ops through UNFI.

Harmless Harvest wrapped up a three month exclusive deal with Whole Foods on January 1, and its coconut water is now sold in over 1,000 stores across the country. According to co-founder Justin Guilbert, the company is adding distribution in 100 new stores per week and about to launch with Fresh Direct, an online natural foods grocer in metro New York. Guilbert also said the company is on the verge of signing a new DSD agreement with a major NJ-based distributor, and getting new authorizations with three large retailers.

Unlike some coconut water companies, supply has yet to be an issue for Harmless Harvest, and Guilbert expects to have consistent sourcing for the next three years. However, one note of concern for some consumers and retailers has been the tendency for its product to adopt a pinkish hue. Guilbert said that the coloration is natural as “each coconut has slight variations in phenolic compounds such as flavonoids and higher levels will translate in a slight pink-ening over time.” He noted that Harmless Harvest refuses to add color correcting agents as the company believes in “non-homogenized true to nature production.”

“Consumer adoption, and, more importantly, understanding, has been phenomenal,” Guilbert said. “What may have been considered a weakness by the trade has turned into a proof that our product is not adulterated by ph buffers such as ascorbic acid (vit C) or preservatives such as sodium metabisulphites to homogenize and inhibit natural color variability.”