Is Cactus Water the Next Coconut Water?

Made in America, Drought Tolerant and Healthful - What's Not to Like?

True Nopal Cactus Water
Susie Wyshak

In the 10 years or so that coconut water hit the market, sales have approached the $1 billion mark, thanks to competition between industry leaders Zico and Vita Coco. Both Pepsi and Coca-Cola have taken stakes in these coconut water companies. 

So what's the next big coconut water?

A Look at Superfood-packed Prickly Pear Cactus Water

Imagine a low-calorie beverage with a refreshing watermelon or kiwi-like thirst quenching quality that has the potential to help you lose weight and look more beautiful.

Oh, and it has legendary hangover-curing properties through naturally occurring electrolytes.

Cactus (or nopal) has also been credited with lowering blood sugar, burning fat and the "miracle food" list goes on and on. Given these potential health benefits and the historic California drought, the desert cactus could be ripe for its time in the sun as an anti-oxidant rich, refreshing plant-based beverage. 

It's no wonder that several non-GMO, artificial ingredient-free prickly pear cactus water brands hit the shelf, positioned against coconut water and aloe juice:

True Nopal Cactus Water

True Nopal cactus water, which exhibited at Expo West, compares its pink cactus water to coconut water. Their claim is that the cactus water (actually a blend of water, prickly pear cactus concentrate and "natural flavor") has about half the calories and half the sugar of the leading coconut water brand.

Their U.S.-manufactured cactus water comes in Tetra Pak shelf-stable bottles and sports the promises that thanks to the prickly pear content, the beverage reduces inflammation.

Caliwater Cactus Water

Caliwater also pitched its cactus water at Expo West and touts their beverage is "the original plant-based water powered by the Prickly Pear Cactus Superfruit."

In contrast to True Nopal, which uses concentrate, Caliwater's cactus water contains Prickly Pear Cactus Extract and Prickly Pear Cactus Juice.

They have strong hope that their cactus water will take off, saying that prickly pear cactus is only superfruit with all 24 of the powerful antioxidants that support skin health and beauty. 

The company explains that it sources its prickly pear cactus fruit through a direct relationship with folks who harvest fruit, mostly from California deserts, in a way that is safe and legal. They manufacture the cactus water close to their cactus source, for a lower carbon footprint.

Drought-friendly Cactus Farms

Only time will tell whether cactus water can overtake the popular coconut. It's always nice to have another healthful beverage options made with an ancient superfood that thrives in desert conditions in many parts of the world.​

In California's Central Valley, often called America's bread basket for its rich agricultural output, growers are experimenting with farming cactus in soil that may no longer be friendly to other crops. As with every new crop, they believe there may be gold in them thar soil. 

The more beverage companies include Opuntia (the botanical name for prickly pear cactus) as an ingredient, the more we can expect to see cactus as a new cash crop.