The benefits of coconut water have quickly catapulted the electrolyte-rich elixir from an exotic liquid sipped from the shell by locals and tourists to the epicenter of an entirely new beverage category: plant waters. And while coconut water continues to grow and evolve in the natural beverage space, which intersects with the similarly expanding functional foods category, it now has lots of company.
In fact, the natural beverage category, which includes a number of ‘functional foods,’ is one of the fastest growing sectors in the industry. The vanguard plant water beverage, coconut water, sold $248 million in 2013 according to Nielsen. (The actual figure is likely much higher, since Nielsen only captures an estimated 65% of all retail sales.)