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Scottsdale’s True Nopal puts prickly pear water in the spotlight

It turns out while we love looking at them, Arizonans might love drinking them even more.

A Scottsdale entrepreneur is turning the desert dwelling prickly pear cactus into a beverage that contains just the cactus and water combined. 

“I was on a run on one of the amazing trails we have in Arizona and the prickly pear was in bloom and I thought it was amazing that this plant could grow and thrive and produce a fruit without any water in one of the harshest climates in the world,” said Tom Zummo, creator of TrueNopal. “I knew there was a reason it was there.”

He did some research and learned it has a ton of benefits beyond hydration. Tom says cactus water can keep your skin healthy, aid in muscle recovery and even cure a hangover.

“The prickly pear is the only plant in the world with all 24 known betalain antioxidants,” Zummo said.

He also says it has less sugar and fewer calories than sports drinks and coconut water. Plus it has a natural strawberry kiwi Tom Zummo was inspired by the prickly pear cactus’ properties when he was running in Scottsdale years ago. He started True Nopal in 2013.

Nick Oza/The Republic
Like millions of workout enthusiasts around the world, Tom Zummo was well aware of the popularity of coconut water as a post-workout replenisher.

But one intense run on Lost Dog Wash Trail near the McDowell Mountains got him thinking about an alternative. It also altered his career and sparked a trend in the healthy-water space.

In 2013, Zummo started True Nopal Cactus Water, which makes True Nopal, the first and top-selling cactus-water brand in the world. In doing so, the Scottsdale entrepreneur also created the cactus-water category.

Since then, cactus water has become the “it” natural beverage and contends to de-throne coconut water as the industry’s king.

By Georgann Yara

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