Vita Coco, one of the country's largest coconut water brands, recently released a new beverage line made of sparkling coconut water and juice infused with 20 milligrams of broad-spectrum hemp extract, which includes CBD. The new drinks are available in three flavors: cardamon-lemon, cloved orange and ginger-apple.
“Many of the hemp beverages on the market are full of sugar and artificial flavorings that are intended to fully mask the taste of hemp,” Vita Coco brand director Allison Finazzo says in an email to Westword. “We wanted to lean into hemp’s earthiness and create unique flavor profiles, like cardamom-lemon, that not only allow us to keep a simple ingredient panel, but also offer a delicious taste experience."
According to Vita Coco, the company partnered with New York CBD producer Plant People to infuse the drink with broad spectrum hemp extract. Although adding hemp-derived CBD to beverages is still frowned upon by the FDA, giving it a vaguer label, like broad-spectrum hemp extract — which includes hemp terpenes and cannabinoids, like CBD — gives food and drink makers more wiggle room.
Finazzo says the inspiration behind the new beverages was customer feedback, and trying to evolve with consumer trends. While there is still more research to be done around CBD's efficacy and long-term effects, it has shown promise in treating inflammation, anxiety and other ailments. Vita Coco also doesn't shy away from coconut water's popularity among people with hangovers from the night before — something many consumers have tried treating with CBD, to varying results.
“Our consumer is at the heart of what we do, and it’s critical we grow and evolve along with them — and that means offering new products that meet their emerging needs and occasions,” she adds. “We’ve seen our consumer become more transparent and vocal about the effects of stress and anxiety in their daily lives. We’ve also seen them struggle to find solutions that are natural, effective and accessible."
At the moment, Vita Coco Infused is currently only available for purchase online, but Finazzo says the brand hopes to expand distribution into grocery stores and food retailers in the near future.
Update: This article was updated on December 13 to reflect correct attribution of Finazzo's remarks.