Review: Coco Community: An Impressive Step for Pasteurized Coconut Water From the Makers of Vita Coco
Covers Products: Coco Community Coconut Water
Coco Community is a new “craft” coconut water from All Market, Inc., which is better known as the company behind Vita Coco. The USDA Organic, Non-GMO Project verified, and Fair for Life Certified product is a not-from-concentrate coconut water that is pasteurized and packaged in a PET bottle (both 8.45oz and 16.9oz bottles are available).
The product is made with Nam Hom coconuts which come directly from the farmers in the Ratchaburi Province of Thailand (they’ve even formed a cooperative with with the local farmers, which is the idea behind the name for the product). And, let’s be fair: it does owe visual cues to high-end competition like Harmless Harvest and some HPP juices. The flavor of the product is a huge step above any pasteurized product that’s currently on the market -- and it’s even better than some of the HPP offerings that are currently out there. Some of this certainly has to do with the single source used for the coconuts, which leads to a cleaner and more accurate flavor than some of the products that are blended or made from concentrates. Otherwise, it’s exactly what you’d expect from high quality coconut water, which is that perfect balance between sweet, nutty, and salty flavors.
For the product positioning and branding, we find it pretty interesting that they’ve chosen to leave the Vita Coco brand off of this one. We understand the reasoning, but building something completely from scratch is, at least in the near term, a tougher proposition. The reason that they’ve done this has to do with how All Market is segmenting the coconut water category. They view three distinct segments: value, premium, and craft. While VIta Coco sits in the premium category, this one is going after the craft segment, which, according to their marketing materials currently accounts for 10 percent of the category’s growth.
If we’re judging this product completely on its own and without considering who is behind it, we think that it’s clean and simple, but the branding for Coco Community isn’t all that strong in its current form. The way they’ve treated it (“From the Coco Community”), it feels like it could be mistaken for a store brand as the logo is, aside from certification logos, the bottom visual element on the label. Plus, its target consumer will potentially be confused by the lack of a mention of either HPP or pasteurization on the bottle (especially since it uses the same color scheme as the HPP market leader). In our opinion, this should be part of the back story and they should address this head on.In the end, we feel really good about Coco Community’s first effort. Yes, there’s some room for improvement with the label and how the product’s value proposition is communicated. But what they’ve done, which is to effectively narrow or almost eliminate the gap between HPP and pasteurized coconut water, is an impressive feat and one that certainly is a big step forward for the coconut water category as a whole.