Coca-Cola Has Bad News For Zico Coconut Water Fans

The coronavirus pandemic has seen the loss of lives and jobs, but to add insult to injury, not even our favorite convenience foods appear to be safe, with beloved products simply disappearing from shelves (via Eat This, Not That). Unfortunately for coconut water lovers, Channel 3000 is reporting that Coca-Cola is the next brand making major product changes to adapt to the new normal. The outlet states that Zico coconut water will be joining the ranks of Odwalla smoothies and juices, with the company discontinuing the brand of flavored coconut waters in the coming months – and sadly, the bad news doesn't end there. 

The Wall Street Journal states that also at risk of being discontinued are some of the brand's more niche Coke and Diet Coke flavors, including Diet Coke Feisty Cherry and Coke Life, plus some regional American soda brands such as Northern Neck Ginger Ale and Delaware Punch. In fact, Coca-Cola made it known last month that it is aiming to reduce its roughly 500 partially or fully-owned brands by more than half.

The real reason Coca-Cola is discontinuing half its brands

The reason behind the disappearance of more niche Coca-Cola brands depends on who you ask. According to a company spokesperson, "This decision was not made lightly and comes at a time when we are focused on delivering on our consumers' wants and needs while driving scaled growth across a total beverage portfolio" (via CNN). However, The Wall Street Journal notes that many consumer goods companies have been narrowing their product ranges in response to disrupted supply chains as a result of the pandemic, prioritizing higher-demand products.

While this strategy might seem aggressive, the aim is to narrow the variety of products available in order to meet demand for Coca-Cola's most popular beverages, and Zico coconut water simply isn't one of those any longer. In fact, retail sales of coconut water in general have fallen 22 percent since 2015, and Zico in particular has gone from the second most popular coconut water brand in the United States to a measly 4 percent market share. By removing products that haven't shown growth for at least three years (which Coca-Cola calls "zombie" brands), the company aims to drive growth in an uncertain economic future; a plan which CNN states also involves cutting thousands of jobs and decreasing its number of business units. At least consumers can feel secure for now in the knowledge that the most popular Coca-Cola products aren't going anywhere.