By: Elaine Watson, 10-Dec-2012
(Republished by permission of FoodNavigator-USA.com)
While coconut water is best known for its hydrating properties,
manufacturers are increasingly using it to cut calories and liven
up 100% juice beverages, says one formulation expert.
Hydration, recovery, and electrolyte activity are important in sports
beverages applications, while more mainstream beverage makers have
been keen to cash in on the general health halo imparted by coconut
water, says Don Giampetro, vice president, innovation, at New
Jersey-based fruit juice concentrate specialist iTi Tropicals.
However, as coconut water is classified as a juice for regulatory
purposes, but is far lower in calories, it can also be used to significantly
reduce calories in juice blends while enabling firms to retain 100% juice
We’re barely scratching the surface
He adds: "Coconut water can be labeled as
juice, but it does not contribute a high level of
"Therefore, blending with other juices and
using it as an ingredient is a potentially
significant application that we are seeing and
at this point, only scratching the surface."
For example, replacing a 100% red concord grape juice formulation with a 75% coconut water/25%
red concord grape juice blend could enable a firm to reduce calories from 170 to just 67 per 8 floz
He added: "Looking at the larger commodity type juices, such as apple, grape, and orange;
coconut water blends well with all of these juices.
"The key to coconut water is that is does not contribute much to color or flavor, and that is a good
thing when blending with other juices."
I do not think the use of coconut water as an ingredient is a fad
While the growth in coconut water launches has been pretty explosive in the past couple of years,
it does not appear to be a fad, he says.
"I do not think the use of coconut water as an ingredient is a fad. It is here to stay and more and
more applications will sprout up with coconut water, for sure."
From a technical perspective, coconut water and coconut water concentrate are also "very, very
simple" to work with, he adds.
"The product is low in viscosity, translucent in color, and blends easily. Since it does not contribute
much in the way of flavor, it makes it a very easy ingredient to blend with a variety of other juices.
"To reconstitute 60 brix concentrate is easy as well, as it is like a thick syrup. By adding water, you
can easily work up to the single strength level that is needed.
"It really enhances other products and makes better products when used as an ingredient."
Interest in acai leveled off a bit, but there appears to be a resurgence
But what other fruits are gaining momentum as we head into 2013?
"Items like passion fruit, mango, guava and papaya have become more and more commonplace",
says Gaimpetro. "However, items like dragon fruit, soursop, tamarind, and acerola continue to be in
"Acai is an item that was extremely popular over the last few years, leveled off a bit, but now
seems to be in a resurgence again.
He adds: "The larger bulk juices will continue to be out there, however, the use of exotics/tropicals
will continue as consumers look for new products and product developers look to bring new varied
products to the market."
The rise and rise of coconut water...
Coconut water is a translucent, fat-free, low calorie liquid from
the inside of young green coconuts that is rich in potassium and
magnesium, which has made it very popular in sports and
hydration beverages as a natural isotonic juice and source of
The range of beverages containing it has skyrocketed over the
past two years, with products ranging from top-sellers Vita Coco and O.N.E. Coconut Water, to
PepsiCo-owned SoBe Lifewater’s Pacific Coconut, to Coca-Cola-backed Coco-Refresh
Vitaminwater and ZICO Pure Premium Coconut Water, which was the ‘official coconut water’ at the
London Olympic Games this year.
Other more interesting launches this year include additions to Maverick Brands’ Coco Libre
Coconut Water and Chia range and RealBeanz's ready-to-drink gourmet iced coffees with coconut
TetraPak: Working to arrest effects of enzymes that degrade coconut water
In a video on our sister site Beveragedaily.com (Click here to watch it), Kit Lai, director of Tetra
Pak’s Soya- and Coconut Knowledge Centers, says sales of coco-nut water-based beverages in
Tetra Pak packages have grown significantly in the past five years, with the global market now
estimated to be worth around €270m ($349m), driven primarily by Brazil and the US.
Work is also progressing to increase shelf-life in coconut water-based beverages following the
discovery of two enzymes that are activated the moment coconuts are cracked, he reveals.
"They are responsible for the color changes of coconut water, making it look visually unattractive.
We are now establishing processing methods that will be able to arrest the effects of these
enzymes and provide a longer shelf life without compromising the nutrients and taste."
The achievement is all the more amazing because it’s a premium-priced category
Writing in Coconut water 2012 earlier this year, New Nutrition Business director Julian Mellentin
said the market for coconut water beverages grew 100% in 2011 taking the combined retail sales
value of the US and European markets to more than $265m.
"The achievement is all the more amazing because it’s a
premium-priced category. The market is expected to grow
another 50% in 2012.
"Coconut water is ‘naturally functional’: it naturally has 15 times
the amount of potassium found in the equivalent volume of most
Coconut water has only 19-24 calories per 100ml versus 43 calories for orange juice
He added: "As well as being isotonic and naturally sweet, coconut water is low in calories - with
only 19-24 calories per 100ml, compared to 43 calories per 100ml for orange juice."