Henry Chen on the new Coco Exposed

Shaun Weston15 Sep 2011

The distributor of ALO Drinks, Henry Chen, talks to Claire Phoenix about the new Coco Exposed.

"We launched Coco Exposed about a year ago," says Henry Chen. "New Coco Exposed initially launched earlier this year and is made using coconut water from young coconuts, with five variants including added wheatgrass, a passionfruit & pineapple variant, peach & kiwi, mangosteen & mango, goji berry and lychee.

"We expected the goji berry and lychee to be the bestseller, but as it turns out, passionfruit & pineapple and the peach & kiwi flavours earn the top spots.

"As for sales channels, Coco Exposed will be more niche, primarily for the natural and grocery channels."

I ask Chen about his target market and demographic profile: "Our fans generally run from teens to those in their 50s, favouring women just slightly more than men; those who are active, trendsetters and are concerned about what goes in their body. Although that is our ‘core’ demographic, what we’re finding is that the drinks are popular across all ages and lifestyles. Kids love our drinks. In fact, my kids have me buy them one every time we see them in stores (even though they can get an endless supply at home for free!).

"Also, because the drinks taste so great, we’re finding that even very mainstream consumers enjoy the drinks as a better alternative to sugary sodas. One of our top independent retailers in Michigan, for example, is a gas station, which typically skews more towards males looking for a ‘grab and go’ beverage.

"Many people buy our drinks because of their great taste compared to sodas, and are thrilled to know that they’re healthy for you besides."

So why the relaunch of the bottle? Was the name not clear enough?

"After a few months with the original design, in response to consumer reaction, we decided to update the Coco Exposed label to better communicate what the line is all about. Yes, many felt the original look wasn't clear enough and didn’t communicate the combination of real aloe vera and pure coconut water very well, so we worked on defining the brand and coming up with a design language to better communicate the brand’s message.

"Coco Exposed is about mixing natural hydration with all the goodness of real aloe vera in one delectable, all-natural drink to replenish the active lifestyle. With ALOTones, we’re communicating that message and living up to our promise of helping our fans feel good from the inside out.

"With every purchase of Coco Exposed (and ALO Drink shortly), the consumer can use his/her mobile phone to scan a uniquely branded QR code to download a free musical track specifically tailored to that particular flavour. It’s also incredible value, as not only do you get a great-tasting, super-hydrating drink, but also a piece of music that typically costs at least $1 to download.

"We’re excited about the new packaging and new initiative that we believe gives a lot back to our fans."

How has the beverage industry changed over the last 10 years, and what makes a successful company?

"I’ve seen the beverage industry move more towards ingredient awareness, as consumers become increasingly educated about what they put into their bodies. I’ve seen opportunities grow for new and/or niche beverage brands, not only as more and more natural food stores pop up, but also as conventional grocery stores readjust their shelf space and allocate more footage for functional/new age drinks, or even create whole natural sets or stores-within-stores featuring all natural products, beverages included.

"I believe a successful company is built on a foundation that combines great products and great people who exhibit nimbleness, perseverance and creativity."

Claire Phoenix is managing editor of Beverage Innovation magazine. Subscribe here.