Zico to Be Discontinued as Coca-Cola Gives Up on Coconut Water

Coconut water sales have declined over the past five years; now dealing with a pandemic, Coca-Cola is apparently over it.

Not that long ago (by history of the world standards, not internet standards) bottled coconut water was the next big thing. As part of that fervor, Coca-Cola invested in Zico in 2009 before scooping up the rest of the then-second-best-selling coconut water brand four years later. But as the COVID-19 pandemic has upended the economy, the global soda giant is putting a number of products on the chopping block and the once-buzz-worthy Zico is getting the ax.

Coca-Cola is paring down its entire beverage lineup, according to the Wall Street Journal, with a company spokesperson telling the business rag that they "are hyper focused on delivering on our consumers' wants and needs." Products reportedly under scrutiny include both regional brands like Northern Neck Ginger Ale and Delaware Punch, but also larger national rollouts like Diet Coke Feisty Cherry and Coke Life—a lower-calorie, mixed-sweetener version of the classic cola that launched with hype of its own.

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But Zico's fate is apparently already decided: done by the end of this year. As the WSJ explains, a big part of the issue is dwindling interest in coconut water in general: Not only was Zico unable to challenge Vita Coco for America's coconut water throne, but the entire sector has seen sales fall by over a fifth since 2015, back when excitement was still surging. Meanwhile, Coca-Cola's interest reportedly dwindling as well, putting fewer resources into Zico over the past year and watching its sales slash nearly in half. "This decision was not made lightly," a Coca-Cola spokesperson told CNN.

Zico isn't the only major Coca-Cola acquisition that's gotten the ax recently. Back in July, the drinks giant announced plans to discontinue its 2001 juice and smoothie buyout, Odwalla. And that same month, many Coca-Cola fans were struggling to find some of their favorite products, but not because of planned cutbacks: Due to a pandemic-driven aluminum can shortage, Coca-Cola was forced to prioritize packaging more popular products, leading to other items to temporarily go missing.

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