The Coca-Cola Company has bought a minority stake in Zico Beverages, the California-based maker of Zico Pure Premium Coconut Water.

Coca-Cola North America's Venturing and Emerging Brands (VEB) business unit bought a 20% minority stake in the company. 

Other investors, including Jesse Itzler, principal of Suite 850, have also put funds into Zico, bringing the total investment to US$15m, the group said today (1 September).

The move by Coca-Cola Co follows rival PepsiCo's deal to buy Brazil's largest coconut water firm.

Mark Rampolla, ZICO's founder and CEO, said: "This support from such an exciting and influential consortium of investors certainly validates the broad potential we've known Zico had from the outset."

Building on our established momentum and powered by this new investment, we plan to introduce the Zico brand and its natural health benefits to a much larger mainstream audience, which has always been our mission."

Coca-Cola North America said it is continually on the look out for brands that have the potential "to change the way consumers look at beverages".

Zico is sold in yoga studios, gyms, natural food stores and gourmet grocers in select markets across the US.

Last month Coca-Cola Co. and its Mexican bottling partners announced plans to invest US$5bn in Mexico during the next five years.