Review: Harmless Harvest 2016 -- An HPP Pioneer Takes a New Approach
Covers Products: Organic Coconut Water - 8.75 oz
When Harmless Harvest first launched its “100% Raw Coconut Water” using high pressure processing (HPP), it definitely turned industry heads. Not only because of the technological feat of being one of the first beverage brands to deploy the technology, but also because of the impressive flavor that they were able to create.
Fast forward to 2016 and Harmless Harvest is changing both the method of processing the liquid inside the bottle and the actual bottle itself. They’ve moved on from HPP and are now employing microfiltration to continue to avoid heat-intensive pasteurization. The new bottle, the first time they’ve changed it since they launched their HPP product, uses 24 percent less plastic compared with the old one.
What everyone will want to know about these changes are whether or not it’s an upgrade, a downgrade, or a lateral move. For the liquid, it’s definitely a lateral move. We’ve tasted these products on their own as well as side by side with the HPP product that’s still on the shelves and it’s just as good. As for the bottle, the jury is still out.
This bottle, which to date has only been used for pasteurized beverages, doesn’t have the same premium feel as the last one. Of the company’s two sizes, the 16 oz. version is definitely better looking than the 8.75 oz. bottle (it has fewer ribs). But neither one is as clean-looking as the old bottle. So, we’re left feeling like they’ve downgraded the package. While it’s great to cut the use of plastic, compromising the look of the product seems like a risky move.
In addition, the bottle copy takes the brand one step further from its original “100% RAW COCONUT WATER” message (it’s been inching away from this over the past couple of years). Having now removed all mentions of HPP and making no mention of how the product is processed, the product feels less transparent and, unfortunately, less authentic.
While these changes are both intended to be innovative steps forward, the lack of messaging makes the product look, at least on the surface, like something that could be perceived as a step backwards. In the end, we think that consumers will adjust, just as they did when Harmless Harvest removed the “raw” text. However, the company could certainly expedite the process by addressing the packaging change and processing change head on.
In the end, we’re pleased with what Harmless Harvest has created and with the way that they continue to try and make their product better. This is still one of the best bottles of coconut water out there -- and it’s definitely the category leader when it comes to innovation.