This Jamaican brand isn't exactly the purest, diluting most of its coconut water with regular water and adding sodium metabisulfite and sugars to the majority of its cans. They do have a couple of preservative-free and 100 per cent coconut water options now at least. You'll mostly find this in cans, and there are no claims that they're BPA-free. However, it also comes in Tetra Paks (made of paper, BPA-free plastic and foil, though only the paper part of the carton gets recycled according to the city of Toronto).
You know coconut water has hit the big leagues when Coca-Cola (owner of Zico) and Pepsico (owner of O.N.E and Naked) start snatching up brands. Zico gets its coconuts from Thailand, the Philippines and Indonesia, O.N.E, from multiple countries including the Philippines. Earlier this summer, Greenpeace warned the Philippine Coconut Authority to stop dousing plantations with controversial neonic pesticides, poisoning beneficial insects and birds. Both brands offer 100 per cent coconut water, but neither is organic or fair trade, which is a shame considering that the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization says coconut farmers live in extreme poverty.
The reigning king of coconut water, having cornered 69 per cent of the U.S. market, Vita Coco bottles 1.5 million coconuts from all corners of the globe every day. No doubt the company (which earned $250 mil last year) can afford fair trade certification so all its workers are guaranteed a bigger cut of the profits. Ditto for organic certification. Its global supply chain expansion plan includes building roads and clean drinking water access in Sri Lanka and funding a hospital and children's education in the Philippines. Sold in Tetra Paks.
THIRSTY BUDDHA, BLUE MONKEY
Montreal's Thirsty Buddha and Cali's Blue Monkey offer coconut water in cans that claim to be estrogenic bpa-free. What do they use instead? Hard to say. Like all cans, these are fully recyclable and generally high in recycled content (unlike Tetra paks). Aluminum actually gets recycled in perpetuity rather than down-cycled into dead-end products the way plastic does. Both lose points for not going the certified organic, fair trade route, though Blue Monkey is poised to introduce an organic line and claims to have enviro/ethical standards.
COCO LIBRE, FEEDING CHANGE
Two of the only certified organic coconut waters on the market. Pretty impressive that Feeding Change gives 60 per cent of net profits to community initiatives, isn't pasteurized (hence it arrives frozen) from a single family farm in Thailand. Too bad Coco Libre's fair trade seal only appears on protein-boosted flavours (tough to find in Canada). All coconut farmers deserve a fair cut of the coco craze, but at least these guys aren't subjecting workers, wildlife or the planet at large to synthetic fertilizers and pesticides.