The coconut platform extension continues. Coconut water leader Vita Coco is getting into the growing pool of dairy-alternative drinks with the launch of Coconutmilk, a beverage made with coconut water, coconut cream and filtered water.
Packaged in a multi-serve 1.25 L PET bottle, the refrigerated product will debut at the upcoming Natural Products Expo West 2017.
Vita Coco Coconutmilk will launch in the U.S. in March beginning at Safeway and will be available at Lucky, Hannaford, Winn Dixie and other grocery chains and independent retailers in the following weeks. It’s also launching simultaneously in the U.K. The new product comes in two flavors — Original and Vanilla — and is Non-GMO certified, gluten-free, free of carageenan and added sugar, and kosher. The beverages have a suggested retail price of $4.99. Vita Coco expects them to be available nationally by August.
The launch comes amid booming sales of coconut-based dairy alternative beverages. According to IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, coconut milk drinks pulled in nearly $101 million in multi-outlet sales in a 52-week period ending on November 27, an increase of 12.9 percent compared to a similar timeframe a year prior.
In an email to BevNET, Arthur Gallego, corporate communications director at Vita Coco, said that coconut-based beverages are the fastest-growing segment within the dairy-alternative category. Moreover, he stated that plant-based beverages “have never been more appealing or topical” and cited “over 77,000 mentions of plant-based foods in the media from just December of last year through the end of January, 2017.”
A desire to expand the brand’s presence inside grocery stores played a role in the development of the new product. Vita Coco’s coconut water drinks are merchandised among ambient and refrigerated beverage sets and the brand’s coconut oil is commonly found in cooking ingredient and health and beauty aisles. Coconutmilk will give Vita Coco its first placement on dairy-alternative shelves.
“The launch of Vita Coco Coconutmilk is further proof that Vita Coco is in a singular position to become the coconut brand consumers shop for,” Gallego said.