Despite its recent growth, coconut water is still working to win over some consumers, says Arthur Gallego, communications director for Vita Coco, New York. In this month’s Category Focus on coconut water, he explains that consumers often expect coconut water to have a sweeter flavor profile similar to coconut milk or confectionary coconut applications.

To win over consumers, the category has paired coconut water with fruit flavors, such as Vita Coco’s Coconut Water with Acai and Pomegranate. Similar to the growing coconut water category, acai and pomegranate were once foreign flavors, which were aided in their popularity by research into their health benefits.

Pomegranate has become such a widespread ingredient that it is now featured in unique combinations, such as the Pomegranate Black Pepper variety of Prometheus Springs Capsaicin Spiced Elixirs. The New York-based Prometheus Springs line was highlighted by Lynn Dornblaser, director of consumer packaged goods trend insight at Mintel International, Chicago, during an interview for this month’s New Product Development Supplement.

The line, which also includes Lemon Ginger and Lychee Wasabi flavors, represents the appeal of niche products and brands in the beverage industry, she says. Dornblaser also highlighted the packaging’s serving recommendations, including “neat for maximum spice,” “serve warm and get well soon,” and as a “mix with spirits and libations.”

Intrigued, I picked up the Pomegranate Black Pepper variety at a local Whole Foods Market and was surprised by its subtle, but mouth-filling heat. The flavors offer initial intrigue, but Prometheus Springs doesn’t purport any health benefits beyond capsaicin’s “ability to trigger the unique sensation of a happy, natural high.” BI