Functional benefits of coconut water underscored in Zola's new packaging
“The impetus for the new branding and for taking this step in a new direction comes from taking a hard step back and asking ourselves, consumers and industry experts how we can continue to grow the coconut water category,” said Pete Brennan, Zola’s chief growth officer.
He explained to FoodNavigator-USA that the answer was to better showcase through package design the functional benefits of coconut water and the other star ingredients in the brand’s portfolio, which includes coconut water with pulp, espresso or chocolate in addition to its original flavor and its new pineapple juice blend.
“We needed to really give ourselves a platform that communicated through the design what it was that we stood for as we were looking for that next step in innovation,” Brennan said.
To do this, the company settled on a streamlined design centered on the concept of “plant-powered hydration,” Brennan said, adding this “starts to come through in the icons and in the way we are treating the ingredients in the package.”
He explained that main icon at the top of the package’s front panel depicts “what we call the energy trifecta that comes from plant-powered hydration, which is people, the depiction in the center of the icon, and plant power in the leaves that are coming through, and then also hydration, and that is coming through the splashing wave.”
Icons running down the side panel reinforce these messages and the company’s values, representing the organic certification, Kosher, gluten free, GMO free, and recyclable.
Cleaner, vegan ingredients
The imagery on the package also quickly tells consumers that the product is vegan – a declaration that required the company to reformulate its chocolate and espresso coconut waters.
Brennan explains that the chocolate and espresso coconut waters had a “slight bit of dairy” to help deliver a creamier mouth feel. But in order to be “all about plant-powered hydration,” the company swapped the dairy out for coconut milk, making the product vegan.
It also dropped carrageenan after learning from consumers that this was an ingredient that gave many people pause, Brennan said. He explained the carrageenan was used to help suspend the real cocoa and espresso powders used in the two coconut waters. Without it, consumers might need to give the products a “bit of a jiggle” before they drink the beverages, he said.
Pineapple could attract new users
Zola also hopes to bring new consumers to the coconut water category by launching a coconut water and pineapple juice blend that is more approachable and palatable to new users.
“Pineapple is really consumer friendly, and a great tasting flavor that matches nicely with coconut water,” Brennan said. “It is light, refreshing, tropical and it fits all those points that are consumers are looking for.”
Ultimately, Brennan sees these changes as just the beginning of the coconut water category’s next phase, which will focus on hydration, antioxidants, nutrition and other functional benefits.