A recent Canadean survey of 2,000 adults reveals that less than one in ten (7 percent) consumers have purchased coconut water in the last twelve months. However, those who buy coconut water consume it regularly: 49 percent say that they drink the beverage either “daily” (19 percent), “weekly” (12 percent) or “every couple of weeks” (18 percent). The drink is noticeably more popular among younger adults, with those aged 25-34 years old (15 percent) most likely to have drunk the beverage over the last year, and those aged 55 and over (3 percent) the least. The survey's findings are supported by Canadean data: Although coconut water experienced a growth spurt of 78 percent in the UK in 2013, only 3 million litres were consumed — a relatively low number which is expected to stay at a similar level in 2014.
Health boost more important than taste
When questioned why they purchased the beverage, the main reason for consumption was “it is healthy” (72 percent) followed by “I like the taste” (58 percent). The fact that the nutritional aspect of the beverage is more important than sensory attributes shows that the beverage is still primarily seen as a functional drink. Michael Hughes, lead analyst at Canadean, says: “Consumption of coconut water remains a niche despite the high magnesium content of the beverage. This can be related to consumers finding the distinct taste of coconut water off putting and instead prefer drinks that they perceive as more delicious.”
The fact that few consumers have tried coconut water and not everyone likes the taste has consequences for producers. Canadean suggests to promote the functional aspect of the beverage and concentrate efforts on the small - but loyal - consumer base. Hughes adds: “Manufacturers need to position coconut water as a functional beverage and raise awareness of the nutritional benefit among core groups such as sportsmen and athletes to help grow its consumer base.”