Coca-Cola invests in ZICO coconut water company
September 3, 2009
The Associate Press reports that, soft drink giant Coca-Cola Co. has taken a minority stake in a coconut water company, continuing its move into juices and teas as consumers spurn soft drinks for health and cost reasons. Coca-Cola declined to say how much its investment was worth, other than to say it was a stake of less than 20 percent in the company. Hermosa Beach, Calif.-based ZICO said in a statement that it has received a $15 million investment from partners including Coca-Cola, beverage entrepreneurs, distributors, celebrities and others. So Coca-Cola''s stake was worth less than that. The move means another major drink maker is eyeing coconut water as it looks to boost sales. Last month PepsiCo Inc. announced it was buying Brazil''s biggest coconut water company, Amacoco Nordeste Ltda and Amacoco Sudeste Ltds. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Sales of soft drinks have been falling in recent years as consumers seek out healthier juices and teas and limit their purchases to save money. Coconut water -- the fat-free, potassium-rich liquid inside young, green coconuts -- is popular in other countries and just starting to catch on in the states. According to a report from Merrill Lynch, sales in Brazil are worth more than $300 million a year, while sales in the U.S. are about one-tenth of that. Coconut water is not to be confused with coconut milk, the liquid that comes from pressed coconut meat.