(Bloomberg) -- Just a few years ago, coconut water was flying off store shelves. As consumers clamored for the naturally sweet beverage, manufacturers introduced new brands while bars created signature concoctions around the drink.

But like we’ve seen with the waning popularity of Cronuts or fat-free potato chips, tastes change.

Coconut water has ended its meteoric rise and started to lose share as consumers turn to other trendy options, including the flavored seltzers that have exploded in popularity recently. The latest blow came with Coca-Cola Co.’s recent decision to kill its coconut water brand, Zico, as part of a pruning of “underperforming products.”

“Coconut water saw a spike several years ago as it was the next ‘hot’ beverage,” said George Daines, a global beverage category merchant at Whole Foods. “Customers now have many competing options for the coconut water usage occasion.”

Since peaking in 2016, coconut water sales in the U.S. have fallen 16%, according to data from market-research specialist Euromonitor. The declines have accelerated each year.

Brands have seen similar slides. Zico’s retail sales fell about 7% last year while O.N.E., PepsiCo Inc.’s brand, dropped almost 13%, according to Euromonitor.

To be sure, coconut water has always had its detractors. It doesn’t take much online searching to find complaints about the beverage’s texture, smell or taste.

Market Shift

As the market has shifted, private-label brands have taken share while independent brands pulled back, Daines said.

Michael Kirban, who founded Vita Coco, is still bullish on the category and his own brand. He acknowledged a slowdown in 2018 and early 2019, which he attributed to issues with how retailers positioned the products. But there are signs of a rebound more recently, aided by new offerings, he said.

And even if the category struggles, Coke leaving the space gives a place for other brands to step in.

“By Zico coming out and all the other brands kind of going away, it gives us more shelf presence to introduce more innovation and more people into the category,” said Kirban, who is the company’s chief executive officer. “So, actually we’re in a very interesting place.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.