There are currently 3 “big players” in the coconut water world, each of which has affiliated with a major soft drink brand. Dr Pepper Snapple distributes Vita Coco, the #1 coconut water. Coke has a stake in Zico, the #2 brand. Pepsi has a majority investment in the #3 player, ONE. Today we’re going to take a look at one of the more flavorful entries, Zico Chocolate Coconut Water.
Coconut water is one of the hot beverage trends these days, given its nutritional and hydration attributes. We’ve reviewed some coconut water in the past, but never one that has been given a chocolate flavor. Coke made a minority investment in Zico back in 2009 and is expected to gain majority control in the near future. It’s a growing category that’s attractive to the large beverage brands due to the decreasing sales in mainstream carbonated soft drinks.
While Vita Coco and ONE stick to TetraPak for their packaging, Zico shifted to a shaped 14 oz. plastic bottle in 2010 for some of their flavors, while retaining 11 oz. TetraPak sizes as well.
Up to this point, coconut water has come in standard flavors, along with some fruit inspired blends. Zico’s Chocolate flavor is quite different, and frankly, is a great way for folks who have never tried coconut water to taste it via this “gateway” product. Unscrew the cap and you are greeted with the scent of something that smells like chocolate milk. The drink is even brown in color.
When you taste it, it most likely resembles watered down chocolate milk. A tad bit salty; it includes electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Coconut water is being pitched heavily these days as a “natural sports drink,” namely for its ability to rehydrate. But let’s be honest, it’s still a niche product that seems a little weird to most folks. Have you ever tried to explain the difference between coconut water and coconut milk?
The nice thing that Zico Chocolate seems to do is remove that “this is weird” barrier by encasing itself in something familiar. I mean, who doesn’t like chocolate milk? The taste is different, obviously, but there’s enough there to build curiosity in this type of beverage.
Granted, the chocolate flavor has a higher calorie count than other Zico products, but that sweetness pays off with a pleasant flavor that is light, refreshing, and very satisfying to someone like myself who really enjoys his chocolate! Plus, as an alternative to actual chocolate milk, the nutrition facts lean in coconut water’s favor.
I was provided a promotional 8 oz. size for the purposes of this review, however the standard 14 oz. size contains the following:
Zico Chocolate Coconut Water
100% natural coconut water from concentrate, cane sugar, coconut cream, cocoa, vanilla, carrageenan
A 14 oz. bottle continues 110 calories, 2 g fat, 160 mg sodium, 680 mg potassium, 24 g carbs (18 g sugars), and 1 g protein. Caffeine free, dairy free, and gluten free.
It’s not surprising that Zico Chocolate has been a fast growing flavor for the brand. After all, it’s good! If you haven’t yet ventured out to see what all the fuss is regarding coconut water, pick up a bottle of Zico Chocolate as a “safe” way to jump into the deep end of the pool. The water is fine!
Official Website: Zico.com
Full Disclosure: This beverage was provided compliments of Zico, LLC