Companies are looking far and wide to capitalize on detox and wellness trends, with a Brooklyn-based manufacturer pioneering blends that combine the benefits of cannabis and tea. Loft Tea offers nine specialty teas infused with about 10 milligrams of cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive derivative of the hemp plant, which is believed to be effective against epileptic seizures, muscle spasms, anxiety, inflammation and pain, albeit at higher doses. The range is made up of 9 blends in total, with 3 Chinese specialty teas and the rest in the form of herbal blends. Loft Tea hope the drinks will open up the therapeutic cannabis market to women and health conscious consumers in and around Brooklyn.
After the success of Nespresso, France finds itself again as the testing ground for domestic brewing devices, this time for tea, as Unilever unveils a single-serve tea machine. T.O by Lipton aims to reinvigorate the brand and mount a challenge to Nestlé, whose Special.T machine has dominated the European market for the past 5 years. Manufactured by German domestic appliance heavyweight Krups, the brewer costs around $200 (about twice the amount of Special.T) and is available to purchase online, as well as in select specialty retail outlets in France. This introductory price includes 40 tea capsules, 2 Bodum mugs and a Brita water filter. The machine is accompanied by a range of 33 references of capsules featuring a variety of flavored blends and a majority of black and herbal varieties. A pack of 10 single-serve capsules costs around $4.
A boutique UK tea firm, Quinteassential, launched a packaging that sets the mood for each tea and notifies drinkers when the infusion is ready. With the help of packaging design firm Pollard Boxes, the company integrated a dynamic QR code on the back of each box, which, when scanned with a smartphone, actions a timer with a piece of specially-tailored music. Each track reflects the mood of the blend and its length coincides with the brewing time. According to designers, dynamic QR codes enable multi-sensory experiences by triggering interactive media such as music and video on the smartphone. The packaging is shortlisted for Luxury Packaging Awards.
Argo Tea announced a new addition to its ready-to-drink tea lineup with the introduction of Teappuccino tea-based dairy beverages. With between 80 and 100 calories per serving, the range aims to balance taste and nutrition thanks to a blend of tea and milk, fruit pieces, flowers, spices and herbs. The three flavors cover some of the most popular varieties: earl grey, green tea and chai. Teappuccino range, available at select retailers from fall, will be available in 12 fl oz bottles for a suggested retail price of $2.99. It complements Argo Tea's bottled Signature Teas range launched in 2010 now sold in more than 20,000 retail outlets.
After adding Vita Coco Lemonade a year and a half ago, the company synonymous with coconut water presented a tea-infused version of its signature beverage. Vita Coco Lemon Tea is a blend of 55% coconut water and black tea, sugar, lemon puree and natural lemon flavors. The drink is part of Vita Coco's product innovation and diversification strategy into beverage categories beyond coconut water. It also comes as a response to one of the main competitors O.N.E. launching two tea blends earlier this year. According to Vita Coco, Lemon Tea will be positioned as a functional hydration and refreshment drink and will be available exclusively in Kroger supermarkets until the end of the summer.
Equvest, a California-based beverage company, recently launched a line of marijuana-infused coffee, tea and cocoa beverages under Pot-O-Coffee brand. The product range consists of two variants: one is infused with the psychotropic tetrahydrocannabinol oil, while the other is made with with non-psychotropic cannabidiol derived from agricultural hemp oil. The former will be available only in states that allow medical or recreational cannabis use, whereas the latter will be available nationwide, given its FDA status as a food-based product. The drinks contain different doses of active compounds and come in single-serve pods or cups.
A popular detox tea blend claimed to support weight loss may actually be responsible for some temporary weight gains, as several female users report unexpected pregnancies after drinking the infusion. The herbal blend, dubbed BooTea, is reportedly responsible for a string of unexpected pregnancies caused by its laxative properties, which prevent the contraceptive pill from being absorbed correctly into the bloodstream. While the manufacturer displays a warning about the issue in the FAQ section of the website, it is not mentioned on product packaging and is now causing online furor. The Bootea detox comes in a 14- or 28-day regimen, with diarrhea being one of the listed side effects. The company has not responded to these allegations thus far.
The Republic of Tea is expanding beyond traditional ingredients with a new range of herbal teas containing grape skins. The grape skins, which are usually used for distilled spirits or discarded after the winemaking process, are sourced from California's famous Sonoma County and blended with fruits and herbs that pair well with each grape. The Sonoma Teas range contains red, white and rosé varieties made from typical grapes for Sonoma, such as Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. The non-alcoholic and caffeine-free blends are packed in quart-sized pouches since the grape skins were too big for regular teabags. A tin of 6 pouches retails for $7.99.
Rum maker Bacardi recently introduced an alcoholic beverage distilled from green tea leaves in China, where green tea is extremely popular. Tang, a limited-production spirit, is made from complex sugars released by tea leaves and spring water from France. The drink is intended to capitalize on the trend of pairing spirits with food and was created to accompany Cantonese and fusion cuisine. Tang is initially selling for about $260 per 500 milliliter bottle in travel retail, and is expected to debut in the premium restaurant channel shortly. Only 2,000 bottles are currently produced, since the company hasn’t yet committed to larger scale production.
Keurig confirmed plans to introduce a domestic cold brewing device later this year as it looks to capitalize on the $50bn US cold beverage market. Keurig Kold, supported by Coca-Cola, will compete directly with Sodastream, backed by Pepsi. Kold will allow consumers to create fresh beverages at home, including sodas and iced teas, using pods from Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple brand portfolios. The beverages will be chilled to 38 degrees Fahrenheit and will not require a CO2 canister for preparation. The market for cold drinks in the US is five times bigger than that of hot teas and coffees, offering big opportunities for the device.
In a bid to infuse more excitement into the iced tea category and to chip away at the carbonated soft drink market, Lipton launched a range of lightly sparkling iced teas. The line is made up of lemonade, raspberry and peach flavors, and comes in thin 12oz cans. The launch will be supported by a full marketing campaign, including TV spots, digital and a concert at the Sundance film festival. The Lipton portfolio is operated by a joint venture between PepsiCo and Unilever, and includes other brands as Pure Leaf Iced Tea and Brisk Iced Tea.
Craftea is a new tea making device aimed to simplify the brewing process and extract the maximum amount of flavors from the tea leaves. The kettle is inductively heated around the bottom to increase efficiency and safety. However, the main difference lies within its magnetically coupled stirrer, dubbed Vortex, which speeds up the process of infusion and flavor extraction, without shredding the leaves. Craftea also offers the possibility to control and save water temperature and brewing time settings. The company is currently taking pre orders at a discounted price of $149. Retail price is set at $199.
Tea of the People, a Toronto-based start-up, presented its inaugural range of teas that includes barrel-aged blends. The company aims to combine antioxidant-rich teas with pieces of super fruits to improve the nutritional value of tea leaves instead of just flavoring them. Some blends are also aged in charred white oak barrels for five months. According to the company, the oak keeps the ingredients tightly stored, allowing for the ingredients' flavors to fuse harmoniously with the tea. The current range is comprised of 8 blends, priced between $9 and $12 for 50 grams.
An innovative device created by a Danish design studio is seeking to disrupt the market for electric tea kettles. The team behind Miito claims that modern electric kettles are loud, slow and above all wasteful, since drinkers usually boil more water than needed for their cup of tea. This leads to great energy waste: it is estimated that if everyone in the UK boiled only the water they need, they would save enough electricity to power the nation's street lights for two months. The solution is an induction base paired to a magnetic rod that is placed directly into any receptacle. Miito, which is still in the prototype phase, uses the electromagnetic field to heat up water around the rod.
POM Wonderful, the world's largest manufacturer of pomegranate-based juice drinks, introduced a line of tea-infused pomegranate juices. According to POM, the new line, called Antioxidant Super Teas, is an attempt to capitalize on the growing tea segment and to offer consumers a new way to enjoy pomegranate tea. The range is available in 4 varieties (Lemon Tea, Sweet Tea, Honey Green Tea and Peach Passion White Tea) and comes in POM's iconic curved bottles. Retailing at $1.99, Antioxidant Super Teas will be rolled out nationwide in the weeks ahead.
Honest Tea, Coca-Cola's brand of ready-to-drink iced teas, has redesigned its line of glass bottles. The labels will sport new graphics and a new brand logo, which will be used across all Honest beverage lines going forward. The new imagery also includes a "1% for the Planet" logo that highlights the company's commitment of at least 1 percent of the product line’s annual sales to organizations working toward positive environmental change. Finally, the range will be sweetened with Fair Trade certified organic sugar from now on.
Tea In First, a start-up from Long Island, NY, introduced a line of ready-to-drink lattes made with real tea leaves and milk. Spiced Chai is the first variety to go on sale and features farm fresh milk and natural spices. According to the company, it is the only such product on the US market at the moment. Tea In First Spiced Chai was officially launched in the Greater New York City and Boston areas and can be found in select natural food stores, patisseries and convenient stores. A second variety made with Japanese matcha tea will be introduced in the coming weeks.
Keurig Green Mountain announced the introduction of the new Keurig 2.0 hot beverage brewing system this weekend. The new system brews both a single cup and a four-cup carafe of over 290 coffee, tea and other hot beverage options, including Starbucks, Snapple and Lipton. The most controversial feature is the software system, which scans each K-cup to determine optimal brewing specifications, but does not permit the use of third party K-cups. This is already in the process of being challenged by a lawsuit for attempting to create an illegal monopoly. Keurig 2.0 is available in three configurations based on brewing sizes and options, with retail prices ranging from $140 to $200.
ITO EN introduced bottled shincha iced tea for the very first time in the US under its Oi Oicha brand. The drink is made from shincha, the year's first harvest of green tea leaves, which is particularly prized in Japan. Shincha is associated with higher concentrations of the amino acid L-theanine, giving it a subtle sweetness, as well as catechin antioxidants and vitamin C. Shincha, which is described as fresh and fragrant, is also lower in caffeine. Oi Ocha Shincha is available in 16.9oz BPA-free bottles and retail for under $2 in select locations.
Honest Tea continues to branch out into sweetened soft drinks with a new line of lemonades. The "Summer Refreshers" range is organic and sweetened using Fair Trade certified sugar, which is a first for the company. The sugar is sourced in Paraguay, with the fair trade premiums helping pay for community development projects chosen by the farmers. Varieties include Original, Berry Hibiscus, Mango and Mint flavors, as well as Half & Half made with black tea. The limited-edition range will be sold exclusively at Whole Foods Market locations nationwide starting in May 2014 in 32 fl. oz glass bottles. Retail price is $2.49 per bottle.
A UK company is capitalizing on increased spending on pets with a line of herbal tea aimed at dogs. Woof & Brew introduced premium herbal teabags for dogs last year and is currently present in over 300 outlets across Britain, including in several cafes, where dogs can enjoy a brew alongside their owners. The pyramid-shaped teabags are available in 7 and 28 count pouches, and produce one liter of tea each. Retail price is £9.99 to £11.99 for 28 teabags. Woof & Brew claims the teas come with such health benefits as improved digestion, healthier coat and fresher breath. According to Mintel data, owners are spending more and more on their pets each year in the UK, with £569 million spent on pet accessories in 2012.
Teatulia, a supplier of single-garden teas from Bangladesh, recently received the 2014 iF packaging design award from the International Forum Design in Hannover, Germany. The award honored the company's efforts in creating a sustainable packaging receptacle for the retail tea range. To distance itself from box containers or tin tubes that are popular in retail, Teatulia came up with a sustainable eco-canister, whose inputs are either recyclable or compostable. The paper components are partly made from post consumer waste, the printed labels are soy-based and the adhesives are water based and environmentally friendly. The winning design was selected from over 260 entries from 55 countries.
Mother Parkers Tea and Coffee, a Canadian tea and coffee manufacturer, announced plans to introduce recyclable single-serve pods. While sales of single-serve cups are booming in home and office environments, the cups are usually made of a hard plastic that's not widely recycled, posing an issue for environmentally friendly consumers. EcoCup is made of plastic that is recyclable in about two-thirds of the municipal systems in the US and will go on sale in about one month. Mother Parkers will first use the EcoCup for its Higgins & Burke tea brand, followed by a partnership with Numi Tea later on in the year. EcoCup coffee pods will be available in 2015. According to Euromonitor International, sales of single-serve machines in the US grew at a compound annual rate of 33% from 2008 to 2013, with coffee pods growing at a rate of 78% over the same period.
Teatulia, a supplier of organic teas based in Denver, CO, launched a line of organic, freshly-brewed iced teas. The range, aimed at the foodservice sector, is composed of Pomegranate Green, Signature Black, Tulsi Infusion, Ginger Green and Hibiscus Berry, winner of the first place honor at last year's North American Tea Championship. The teas are sourced from Teatulia's own tea plantation in Bangladesh and other like-minded gardens. The company hopes the products will diversify operators' offer and increase profits in a category that has been growing quite rapidly in recent years.
Starbucks partnered with former talk show host and media entrepreneur Oprah Winfrey to launch her own blend of tea, which will be available in Starbucks and Teavana locations nationwide. Teavana Oprah Chai is a spicy blend combining black tea, rooibos and several spices, including pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and cloves. Oprah, a self-professed tea lover, created the blend herself and presented it at Starbucks annual meeting last week alongside company CEO Howard Schultz. Oprah's share of the proceeds will be donated to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy Foundation to benefit educational opportunities for youth.
Numi Tea is the latest tea company to jump on the bandwagon of single-serve capsules after inking a deal with RealCup, a single cup manufacturer. According to Numi, RealCup capsules were selected because of their non-woven fiber filter that allows more essential oils to be transferred to the cup. The cups will be compatible with Keurig brewers and RealCup's own RC400 device. Numi, the leading importer of fair trade certified tea in North America, follows other specialty companies such as Republic of Tea and Harney & Sons in offering a range of specialty teas geared towards the undeveloped market of gourmet single-serve products.
Aiming to bridge the gap in caffeine content between tea and coffee, Zest Tea has developed a range of teas with added caffeine. The idea is to combine the taste of premium tea with the alertness provided by a cup of coffee. A typical cup of Zest Tea black tea is said to contain 155mg of caffeine and the green variety up to 135mg. That's about 3 times the amount found in a regular cup of the respective types of tea and more than the 125mg in a cup of coffee. The start-up project was funded with nearly $10,000 collected via a crowdfunding competition. The range is made up of 4 flavors, including Earl Grey and Pomegranate Mojito. A tin of 20 teabags retails for $12.
Celestial Seasonings, part of the Hain Celestial Group, introduced a range of tea blends sourced from select gardens in major tea growing regions. The new lineup of Estate Teas features blends made with organic and Fair Trade certified teas from Cyohoha Estate in Rwanda, Sewpur Estate in India and Guzhang Gaofen Organic Tea Cooperative in China. The range includes English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Pure Green, Jasmine Green and Perfect Trio blends, and will be available exclusively at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide.
PG Tips, part of Unilever's brand portfolio, introduced a new line of green and herbal teas in an attempt to counter falling black tea sales in the UK. The company is looking to tap growing demand for green and herbal teas with a new line of pyramid teabags, which includes 10 varieties, such as Mandarin Orange, Raspberry and Red Bush & Vanilla. Both segments have performed tremendously in the past year, with green tea sales rising 18.6% to £65 million and herbal tea sales adding 11.8% to total £27m. This is in stark comparison to the overall tea category in the UK, which has fallen by 6.1% in volume last year. Accordingly, sales of PG Tips core teabag range were down 4.7% in value over the same period. The launch will be supported with a £5m marketing push.
The Republic of Tea introduced a line of three tea blends inspired by the Downton Abbey TV series. Downton Abbey Estate blend is latest variety to be added to a range that was created last year and previously included English Rose and Grantham Breakfast teas. The teas are all natural and certified gluten free. They come packed in colorful tins featuring characters from the show and hold 36 round teabags. According to the Republic of Tea, Downton Abbey saw record-breaking viewership for its third season and has been watched by 120 million people around the world to date. Each tin retails for $12 on the company's website.
Building on its growing presence in the carbonated beverages market, AriZona announced a line of low-calorie sparking waters in partnership with Skinnygirl, a manufacturer of low-calorie cocktail drinks created by current talk show host Bethanny Frankel. Skinny Sparklers come in 4 fruity flavors and contain a mix of sparkling water, real fruit juice, vitamins, fruit extracts and green tea polyphenols. The beverages are artificially sweetened and contain only 5 calories per serving. AriZona brand is not featured prominently on the packaging, which suggests the company is licensing the Skinnygirl brand from Beam Global, a manufacturer of spirits. Beam Global purchased Skinnygirl from Bethanny Frankel for an estimated $100 million in 2011, with $8.1 million paid for brand rights alone.
AriZona Beverages is the latest company to introduce a line of water enhancers, also known as liquid tea concentrates. AriZona's liquid water enhancers, packed in a squeezable plastic bottle with a flippable cap, come in many popular flavors, including Lemon Tea, Mucho Mango, Fruit Punch and Peach Green Tea. The 1.5oz bottle makes 32 servings and retails for $3 to $4. The launch comes as many other beverage companies introduce similar products in a category branded as "hot." Following the success of MiO, Coca-Cola released Dasani Drops and Powarade Zero Drops, and announced the creation of Vitaminwater and Minute Maid drops for early 2014. PepsiCo recently added Aquafina FlavorSplash water enhancers, whereas Nestlé introduced liquid tea concentrates under its Nestea brand.
Tea Forte, a specialty tea manufacturer, launched a line of pan-roasted black teas. Noir collection features leaves from the Jamguri tea garden in the Assam highlands in Northern India, which are pan-roasted to obtain a concentrated and robust flavor with malty hints and sweet nuances. According to Tea Forte, the new range is aimed primarily at coffee drinkers, who remain the major hot beverage consumers in the US. Noir includes black cherry, caramel nougat, peach brulee, blood orange and chocolate rose blends and is available in Tea Forte's signature pyramid infusers or loose tea canisters.
UK's online gadget retailer Firebox is taking pre-orders for a water kettle that can be controlled by a smartphone. iKettle, the world's first WiFi-enabled kettle, allows users to regulate the controls of the device using a smartphone app. When used as a morning alarm clock, the app wakes up the user by asking if the kettle should be popped on. Same option can be displayed upon returning home. In both cases, the 1.8-liter, stainless steel kettle with an integrated WiFi base starts boiling water on demand. iKettle also has a keep-warm feature, as well as four temperature settings for different varieties of tea and coffee. It is currently available for pre-order for £99 ($160) and is expected to be in stock during the last week of November.
Zenify is preparing a nationwide launch of a stress relief drink based on compounds found in tea. According to the company, Zenify boasts 25 times more stress-relieving antioxidants than green tea. The antioxidants in question are amino acids L-Theanine and GABA that have been clinically shown to increase alpha waves in the brain, elevate serotonin and dopamine levels, and reduce stress without drowsiness. Unlike energy drinks, the beverage does not contain caffeine. As the name suggests, Zenify will be positioned as tension-reducing, as opposed to angry, aggressive lifestyle promoted by certain energy drink brands. The company donates 5% of its profits to The Coexist Foundation.
The Republic of Tea will debut a line of single-serve teas, making it the first specialty tea company to offer such a format. According to the company, One Cuppa capsules promise a fast and convenient way to enjoy high quality tea leaves. The single-serve capsules are compatible with Keurig, Breville, Cuisinart and Mr. Coffee machines. One Cuppa comes in five flavors: Ginger Peach Black Tea, British Breakfast Black Tea, Decaf Ginger Peach Black Tea, Pomegranate Green Tea and Natural Hibiscus Herb Tea. In line with The Republic of Tea's commitment to sustainability, the products will be 95% biodegradable. A box containing 12 units is set to retail for $11.88. The product will be available for purchase from October 1 via the company website.
Nestlé Waters North America enters the concentrated liquid market with a line of liquid water enhancers targeted at end users. Nestea Liquid Water Enhancers come packaged in squeezable bottles that contain 26 servings of tea concentrate. The product is simply squeezed into a glass or bottle, and then mixed with water. The concentrated liquid is made from real tea leaves, has zero calories and contains natural flavors. Nestea Liquid Water Enhancers will be marketed together with Nestlé's portfolio of bottled water brands such as Nestlé Pure Life and Poland Spring. They will be available exclusively at Target from September. Flavors include Iced Tea with Lemon, Iced Tea with Peach and Half & Half Iced Tea.
A new device presented by online retailer ThinkGeek claims to stop hot drinks from splashing when carried. SpillNot holder is made up of a curved plastic arm and nylon carry-strap that is attached to a flat base, creating a constant balance and preventing spills. The device relies on centripetal force, a physics concept that means an object is forced to move in a curved line, to stop liquids escaping from the cup. SpillNot can house almost any mug that is less than 4.5 inches wide and is intended for both adults and children. It can even be swung around without spilling the drink. Retail price is $14.99.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group agreed to stop fortifying certain soft drinks in its 7UP range with vitamins and remove references to antioxidants in marketing material. The agreement ends a federal class action lawsuit filed in 2012 on behalf of a Californian consumer, who purchased certain 7UP drinks without knowing that they did not include juices from fruits pictured on the packaging and that they contained only a small amount of a single added antioxidant: vitamin E. The lawsuit alleged that misleading antioxidant claims gave the impression that the antioxidants came from the pictured healthful fruits. Furthermore, it claimed that fortifying those soft drinks was illegal under the Food and Drug Administration regulations, which prohibit fortifying carbonated beverages with nutrients.
International Coffee & Tea, owners of The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf brand, have signed a multi-year deal with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to supply their products in K-Cup packs for the Keurig single cup brewing system. The agreement will see a range of Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf products become available in a variety of channels in the United States beginning in spring 2014. The deal will allow the coffee and tea retailer to expand its reach in home and office settings. Keurig single cup brewers were the top four bestselling coffee makers in the second quarter of 2013, according to market research firm NPD.
Teavana announced a recall of 445,000 portable tea tumblers, because they can break or shatter unexpectedly, posing laceration and burn hazards. Most double-walled glass tea tumblers are intended to steep tea and keep it warm on-the-go. They were sold from 2007 to 2013 as separate items for about $15 to $33 and for $40 to $100 as part of various gift sets. According to Teavana, the company received over 300 reports of shattered or broken glass, with several customers suffering minor cuts or burns. Consumers are invited to get the glass tumbler replaced by a metal one. Further 24,850 tea tumblers are being recalled in Canada.
Farmer Brothers, a manufacturer of coffee, tea and spices, unveiled a premium line of iced teas to tap one of the fastest growing segments in the beverage industry. The Island Medley range, which consists of fresh brew pouches for automatic iced tea brewing equipment, addresses key industry trends and consumer demands: sweet tea continues to attract younger consumers and the overall iced tea category grew faster than soft drinks in 2012. The product line is primarily aimed at foodservice operators and includes black, flavored, sweet and decaf options. Farmers Brothers operates a national network of direct-store-delivery distribution that yielded approximately $500 million in sales in fiscal 2012.
Numi, the organic tea purveyor, recently presented a line of teas blended with vegetables, herbs and spices. The range contains six unique blends that defy the norms of the category. They include Spinach Chive, Fennel Spice, Tomato Mint and Broccoli Cilantro. Each blend is a combination of several dried vegetables and herbs, mixed with decaf tea. For example, Broccoli Cilantro contains broccoli, celery leaves, cilantro, turmeric and decaf green tea. The ingredients are organic and all varieties are devoid of added sweeteners and sodium. According to a review, some blends are interesting and innovative, whereas others taste too much like soup. A box of 12 teabags retails for $7.99 and will be available in supermarkets in a few weeks.
With the launch of a line of carbonated soda drinks, it seems Honest Tea is finally ceding to the influence of its parent company Coca-Cola. Honest Fizz comes in 12oz cans and four flavors: orange, root beer, cherry and lemon lime. All varieties have zero calories and are sweetened with stevia and erythritol. Initially, the range of fizzy beverages will be available exclusively at Whole Foods Markets nationwide under a "soft launch" strategy. Honest Fizz will be rolled out for nationwide distribution to natural food and specialty retailers in March 2013.
Fuze is expanding its range of iced teas and juice drinks on the back of growing popularity of iced tea in retail and foodservice settings. Fuze aims to leverage consumers' primary reason for consuming tea, which is refreshment. Market research indicates 60% of people drink tea for refreshment, followed by taste and health benefits. According to Coca-Cola, owner of the Fuze brand, the new products are designed to appeal to Millennials and the fast-growing multicultural population. The new varieties, which include raspberry, lemon and peach flavors, will be available in bottles and a variety of foodservice formats.
Cambridge Consultants, a product development and technology consulting firm, showcased a working model of an innovative tea brewer destined for loose tea. Tê is based on a traditional tea-brewing method and works with a capsule, which may be pre-filled with high quality tealeaves. The main innovation is the recirculating pump technology that passes air through the leaves while the capsule is spinning, thereby removing any bitter notes. At the same time, a temperature control system ensures that water pumped into the capsule is constantly kept at the correct temperature. This gives consumers control over the strength and flavor of their tea in a domestic setting. The technology also shortens brewing time from four to two minutes for some teas. The brewer has been developed with black tea in mind, but Cambridge Consultants claim that it can be used for different types of tea and other hot drinks.
The Gizmo Closure and Delivery System has won the "Best Ready-To-Drink Coffee or Tea" award at the 2012 InterBev awards. The innovative pressurized infuser, sold under Tea of a Kind brand, was also a finalist in the Best Bottling Innovation, Best Packaging Innovation and Best Social Media Campaign categories. The nitrogen-pressured infuser stores a concentrated liquid inside the bottle cap and releases it once the cap is twisted. The closure keeps preservative-free ingredients, such as real brewed tea, away from UV rays, oxidation and other damaging conditions. It releases its contents at 90 psi to self-mix, creating a color change and a visual confirmation that the drink is fresh and ready to consume.
Walmart has introduced the first countertop beverage dispensing system able to serve both hot and cold drinks. Esio Hot & Cold Beverage System, manufactured by Esio Beverage Company, offers a wide variety of ready-to-drink beverages including juice drinks, lemonade and sports drinks, as well as hot and iced tea. The latter category is represented by brands like Diet Brisk, China Mist and Barista Brothers, whose drinks are sold in prefilled plastic pouches called Multiserve Epaks. The device allows users to change the temperature of their drinks instantly, without taste crossover and with the possibility to customize the strength of the beverage. The Esio Hot & Cold Beverage System will be available in nearly 2,400 Walmart stores nationwide for $199.
Rishi Tea, a gourmet tea company specializing in organic and trade fair teas, has introduced two product lines sporting new, environmentally friendly packaging. The new Oolong and Classic Black Tea ranges replace a labeled tin by an air-tight foil bag in a printed, bi-lingual box. The Eco-Fresh boxes are made with 50% post-consumer recycled fiber and printed with vegetable-based inks. They are printed locally and shipped flat to reduce the carbon footprint. Rishi Tea will gradually transition its entire line of tins to this new, more sustainable format.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group, owner of Snapple bottled iced tea, has struck a deal with Green Mountain Coffee Roasters to license the brand for single-serve packs. The Snapple K-Cup pack iced teas will be manufactured by Green Mountain and sold exclusively by the company. They are designed to be used in conjunction with Keurig and Vue brewers and will be available in the US and Canada in 2013. The deal is the latest effort on behalf of Green Mountain to fend off competition from lower-cost rivals, as two patents covering important aspects of K-Cup packs expired last month. Green Mountain has reached similar agreements with Starbucks, Dunkin' Brands Group and Caribou Coffee.
Cuissential, a kitchenware manufacturer, has come out with a clever teakettle made almost entirely of silicone. At first glance, SlickBoil looks like any other kettle and brews five cups of tea. But when not in use, its silicone body is designed to collapse into the stainless steel base, shrinking to only 2,5 inches in height. Such compact shape makes it ideal for on-the-go outdoor brewing or small urban kitchens. According to the manufacturer, silicone was chosen as a safe, natural and sustainable material and as an alternative to potentially toxic rubbers and plastics. The kettle works with most sources of heat and retails for $35.
Nestlé has announced imminent plans to expand the availability of its Special T tea brewing device to five further European countries. Special T tea maker aims to replicate the success of company's own Nespresso coffee brewer by offering an automated system to prepare high-quality tea at home. The beverage system is comprised of a variable-temperature tea brewer and a range of 25 premium teas. It retails exclusively online for an introductory price of €89 for the machine, two cups and 40 capsules of tea. Following launches in Switzerland and France, Special T brewer will be rolled out in Austria, Belgium, The Netherlands, Luxembourg and Germany between now and November.
Tea of a Kind has introduced a line of bottled iced teas bearing an innovative type of infuser. The patented Gizmo closure and delivery system is a pressurized bottle cap design that infuses a drink with fresh ingredients upon opening. The liquid is stored in a pressurized chamber cap and is released into the bottle once the cap is unscrewed. According to the manufacturer, the chamber prevents the ingredients from exposure to UV light, oxidation and other harmful conditions that damage most premixed drinks. Tea of a Kind comes in three flavors, contains only 20 calories per 16oz. bottle and will be available in groceries later on this year.
The Coca-Cola Company has introduced new additions of tea and juice drinks to its Fuze product line-up in anticipation of an expiring distribution deal with Nestlé Waters. Fuze is Coke's value-branded option and is set to play a more prominent role within its future tea and functional drinks portfolio, as a distribution and marketing agreement of Nestea iced tea expires at the end of 2012. The new products include lemon iced tea, a blend of tea and lemonade and juice drinks. They will be available at both fountains and in bottle/can packages by the end of the year. One–liter bottles are currently retailing for $0.99 at convenience stores nationwide. After 20 years of cooperation, Nestlé Waters North America is set to take over the US distribution responsibility for the Nestea brand.
Teavana is introducing a range of iced teas and tea accessories for the summer season. The largest specialty tea retailer in the US is focusing on fruity blends with its Fruitful Iced Tea gift set. Priced at $69.95, it contains six blends flavored with various fruits such as acai berries, blueberries, wild oranges, pineapples and strawberries, six storage tins and German rock sugar. To complement the iced teas, the company has launched a large glass pitcher with a removable infuser for $49.95. Teavana has also brought out a tea travel kit that contains a tall tin, which serves as storage for a tea infuser stick, and two matching tins to drink from. The set is priced at $24.95.
Steep & Go cold brew tea infuser, presented by The Tea Spot, picked up Best New Product in the Innovation Category from the World Tea Expo. The reverse infuser pairs with disposable water bottles and loose leaf teas to make fresh cold-brewed tea within 10 minutes. According to the manufacturer, the gadget was created to tap the growing US ready-to-drink tea market, driven by consumers looking for alternatives to sweet carbonated beverages. Steep & Go is also aimed to compete against shelf-stable bottled teas, most of which contain some form of preservative and substantial amount of sweetener. It will be available for wholesale purchase at the 2012 World Tea Expo, and will be retailed online for $6.95 later on in the year.
Tassimo has announced an major recall of its Tassimo Single-Cup Brewers and matching Espresso T Discs due to safety concerns. The brewers and their accompanying discs, available in department stores and supermarkets across the US, are thought to pose a burn hazard in the event that the discs, which contain tea or coffee, get clogged, burst and spray hot liquid on users. So far, 140 reports of incidents involving brewers discharging hot liquid, coffee grounds or tea leaves on users have been recorded, including 37 reports of second-degree burn injuries. Approximately 900,000 units of the brewers were sold in the US between 2008 and 2012. The same amount was sold in Canada. Tassimo brewers are manufactured by BSH Home Appliances Corp. and the discs by Kraft Foods Global, Inc.
Cambridge Consultants, a UK-based design and development firm, has unveiled a novel brewing device prototype for loose tea. The gadget, which is still in development, offers a unique brewing experience thanks to many parameters that it combines. Users are able to opt for any loose-tea variety, and then define specific settings, such as dosage, water temperature and steeping intensity. The tea is introduced to the water, where a stirring mechanism facilitates consistency and steeping efficiency. Once the brewing process is over, the tea is released into a cup. The team is currently exploring partnership possibilities for the device. The machine also promises to prepare a cuppa in half the time it usually takes, saving time for customers and maximizing revenue for retailers.
The fiasco involving excessive alcohol content in Kombucha beverages will likely come to an end for Millennium Products and Honest Tea, after both companies settled class-action lawsuits claiming that they misled consumers about the alcohol content in their Kombucha beverages. The manufacturers, who were forced to pull their fermented teas from shelves last year due to high alcohol levels, agreed to provide cash refunds and coupons to avoid further litigation. Millennium Products and Honest Tea maintain that they did not intentionally mislead consumers. Honest Tea dropped out of the category in December 2010, while Millennium Products has thrived on the popularity of GT Kombucha and GT Synergy. According to market data, sales of Kombucha drinks grew by 28 percent in 2010 and are projected to jump 60 percent this year to reach $200 million.
Hi-T, a manufacturer of hemp iced teas, has signed an important distribution deal in D.C. on the back of growing popularity of this unique beverage. The company, based in Las Vegas, started selling the drink in the Washington area only since September and has already built up a presence in 400 stores. According to the manager, Hi-T iced tea has created a lot of buzz in the industry thanks to a big cannabis leaf on the packaging. Perhaps more importantly, hemp tea has been gaining awareness among health food aficionados for its possible potential in lowering high cholesterol and reducing arthritis.
Honest Tea, the best-selling organic bottled tea in the US, unveiled a redesign of its Honest Tea and Honest Ade product lines. The new designs feature a white background and images of fresh tea leaves and large cut-open fruit. The packaging also highlights the authenticity of the ingredients by specifying that the beverages are brewed with organic tea leaves. The label review was initiated over three years ago after a series of consumer insights suggested that the brand could be making a bigger visual impact on store shelves. According to the company, the new designs were created to stand out on store shelves and drive appetite appeal. Honest's new designs will be available starting in September.
UK tea drinkers are voicing their dissatisfaction with Twinings, the company that is generally acknowledged to have been the first one to sell Earl Grey tea, because it has altered the traditional flavoring of the blend. Critics liken the taste to "lemon cleaning product" and "foul-tasting dishwater". Some go as far as comparing Twining's move to the 1985 'New Coke' fiasco when Coca-Cola changed its world-famous drink, then performed a hasty U-turn after customer outrage. According to the company's website, the product has been refreshed with an additional hint of bergamot. Twinings has also carried out extensive market research before implementing the changes and claims to have received strong positive feedback over the previous blend.
Tea Forte, a manufacturer of gourmet teas, is introducing a range of products designed to improve skin condition and appearance. The company hopes to tap the booming "beauty from within" trend, one of the hottest ones in the $45 billion beauty business. Tea Forte claims that polyphenols and catechins in the new range promote a more youthful looking and feeling skin appearance. The range carries a Brunswick Lab’s ORAC seal, which attests to the potency of antioxidants found in foods and beverages that protect cells and their components from damage by oxidative stress, a major factor in the progression of aging. The range includes flavored green, white and red teas. A pack of 16 filter bags retails for $5.95.
The Tea Spot, a manufacturer of tea steeping and serving products, is introducing a biodegradable tea infuser for loose leaf tea. Brewlux filter fits standard 16 oz disposable hot drink cups and allows room for tea leaves to fully expand and infuse. Brewlux is made from renewable US-grown corn resin and is fully compostable. Combined with a biodegradable cup and lid, the tea brewing process becomes environmentally sustainable. Consumer research conducted as part of the USDA Small Business Innovation Research grant showed that consumers are willing to pay a premium for the device over bagged tea. Brewlux was awarded "Best New Product" in the innovation category at the 2010 World Tea Expo.
Lipton Iced Tea, a product of Pepsi Lipton Tea Partnership, is adding 4 new all-natural products to its range. The beverages contain only simple and natural ingredients: tea, sugar and natural flavors. The 100% Natural range will be available from April 2011 in four varieties: Green Tea with Citrus, Iced Tea with Lemon, Iced Tea with Blueberry Pomegranate and Green Tea with Passionfruit Mango. The 20oz bottles will retail for $0.99 to $1.59. Their launch will be supported by a national advertising campaign. The company seeks to benefit from growth in the natural beverage category and tap into the natural ingredient trend, which consumers associate with health and wellness. In 2010, ready-to-drink tea was the fastest growing category in the liquid refreshment beverage market.
Tetley, one of the largest tea brands in the world, has introduced a tea-scented perfume in the UK. Le Brew was created in response to tea being one of the favorite smells for UK consumers. According to research, people find the smell of tea relaxing. It comes fourth, after fresh bread, cut grass and clean laundry. Tetley's senior taster suggests that the fragrance is reminiscent of freshly cut tea and the tropical scents in a tea plantation. The limited edition Le Brew perfume is available from Tetley Tea Store and is priced at £15 ($25).
Honest Tea has launched a new line of cocoa beverages, days after being bought out by the Coca-Cola company. Honest CocoaNova is a low-calorie cacao infusion that contains antioxidants and 50mg of theobromine, a bitter powder naturally found in dark chocolate. It is made using organic and FairTrade certified cacao beans and contains 50 calories per 10oz bottle. The range is made up of Mint Cacao, Mocha Cacao and Cherry Cacao and will be available from April 2011. The retail price is set at $1.99. According to the organic beverage maker, the company has been working on the concept since 2006.
Teavana Corporation has announced a voluntary recall of 2659 lbs of its peppermint herbal tea, because of possible contamination with Salmonella. Aromatics Inc., a company that produces and distributes the product on behalf of Teavana, issued a notification of a possible contamination after a sample test. Salmonella is a bacteria that may cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in people with weakened immune systems, such as children and elderly. Teavana has ceased to sell and distribute the product, and is investigating the circumstances of the contamination with the FDA. The peppermint tea was distributed nationwide in Teavana retail stores, through mail orders and online.
In recognition of February American Heart Month, Tea Forte, a gourmet tea manufacturer, has launched a special collection of teas to highlight the issue of heart disease among women. The company has teamed up with WomenHeart (the National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease) to introduce a heart shaped box filled with antioxidant-rich green teas to combat heart problems. The special boxes come in small and large sizes and retail for $12 and $20 respectively. According to the company, 42 million women are currently living with or at risk for heart disease in the US and 60 percent of younger women, ages 20-39, have one or more of the risk factors for developing heart disease.
The Healthy Beverage Company, manufacturers of Steaz iced teas, has introduced four new varieties of zero calorie drinks. The Zero Calorie Iced Teaz are made with organic and FairTrade green tea and are sweetened with stevia. The four new flavors are Citrus, Raspberry, Peach Mango and a Half and Half (Green Tea and Lemonade).The new line will be available at Whole Foods Market, Kroger and other stores nationwide beginning in mid-February 2011.
Arizona Beverage Co., a soft beverage and iced tea manufacturer, is introducing a line of enhanced waters, infused with a proprietary blend of Twinlab vitamins and antioxidants. All products contain Arizona's classic green tea extract as an antioxidant packed base. In addition to this, each flavor has its own function. For example, Berry Blend, that contains L-Theanine and lemon balm extract, claims to help the body deal with daily stress. The Rescue Water range is available in 20.5oz. (0.6l) PET bottles and retails $1.39-$1.89 per bottle.
Tea Forte, a gourmet tea manufacturer, is introducing a line of herbal relaxation teas. The caffeine-free range is certified organic and FairTrade, and aims to combat the negative effects of daily stress. The range also benefits from recyclable packaging and biodegradable sachets. Varieties include mixes of rooibos tea and various herbs, fruits and berries. A tin of Herbal Retreat Relaxation Teas has a suggested retail price of $8.95.
Sanctuary T, a tea manufacturer from New York City, is launching a line of portable tea pouches. Dubbed BYOT (bring your own tea), the product consists of a plastic pouch containing disposable unbleached paper teabags filled with whole-leaf loose tea. According to the company, it is a convenient solution to enjoy premium loose tea anywhere. BYOT range is comprised of 10 varieties, including signature Sanctuary T blends and gourmet varieties such as Tiekwanyen and Genmaicha. Each pack holds 10 pouches and retails for $6.99.
According to reports, Honest Tea is quitting the kombucha market due to ambiguities in the regulatory framework. The company is concerned that the future of this category is uncertain given the continuous scrutiny from the US Trade and Taxation Bureau. Unpasteurized kombucha, a type of fermented tea, has attracted attention this summer due to the discovery of alcohol levels beyond legal limits for products sold as non-alcoholic beverages. Many companies scrambled to find solutions to get the alcohol levels below the 0.5% ABV limit after the drinks were pulled from supermarket shelves nationwide. Honest Tea was sourcing its kombucha beverages from High Country Kombucha, based in Colorado.
Cyntha Gold, a tea sommelier from Arlington, MA, has published a book about cooking with tea. The first section of the cookbook focuses on tea itself, with flavor profiles, culinary applications and pairings, and concepts of cooking with tea. Part two features more than 150 recipes. "Culinary Tea: More Than 150 Recipes Steeped in Tradition from Around the World" details a diversity of culinary techniques that are very approachable, using ingredients that would be easy to find. According to the author, the goal of using tea in the kitchen is not to make food taste like tea, but to balance sweetness or richness, add depth of flavor, or layers of complexity.
Samovar, a tea retailer with three stores in San Francisco, has introduced containers made entirely from compostable material for its full line of teas. The new packaging uses post-consumer recycled cardboard for its exterior shell, water based inks, and wood-based fiber material. Samovar is the first tea company to introduce a sustainable container that, if composted, would turn to soil within a couple of months. According to owner Jesse Jacobs, the idea was to find a packaging solution that would biodegrade just like the tea leaves, with a vastly smaller carbon footprint than conventional containers.
Fuze and Gold Peak brands, owned by Coca-Cola, are rolling out two new tea beverages each. Fuze will launch a raspberry flavored tea and an unsweetened version of green tea in December 2010. Gold Peak tea will have tropical and green tea flavors available in early 2011. Both additions, developed over a period of 6 moths, reflect high demand for tropical and raspberry flavors in foodservice, while green tea has seen a significant increase in popularity over the past two years because of its health benefits. According to Coca-Cola, as the fresh-brewed tea market continues to grow, operators are seeking new options to satisfy health-conscious customers with a variety of taste preferences.
Teavana, a specialty tea retailer with over 150 stores in the US, has unveiled a new collection of teas and blends for the upcoming year. The current range of more than 100 varieties will benefit from 2 new flavored white teas, 6 new green teas, 5 oolongs and many black varieties. Herbal category will be expanded with several yerba mate and rooibos blends. In conjunction with the tea launch, Teavana is adding new gift collections, teapots, and other accessories in time for the upcoming holiday season.
Cooper Tea has announced the launch of B.W. Cooper's Iced Brew Tea in 4oz. / 120ml mini-bottles. The tea concentrate is made from real brewed tea leaves and contains no artificial flavors or colors. It is also environmentally-friendly, with significantly less packaging than eight single-serve 16 ounce bottles of tea. Each pocket-sized mini-bottle makes 4 quarts (3.8l) of tea. Initially, the product can be found in select Sheetz convenience stores across the US. The retail price is set at $1.99.
Stash Tea, a manufacturer of gourmet teas, released seven new tea blends featuring a rare herbal tea called Guayusa. The naturally caffeinated herbal tea stems from the Amazon rainforest of Ecuador where it has been consumed for more than 2000 years. It has a rich and earthy aroma with a sweet finish. According to the company, Guayusa is naturally caffeinated and has an energizing effect similar to coffee or Yerba Mate, but provides a slow release of caffeine for alertness and energy, without the jitters or sudden caffeine crash. The lineup includes blends with green, black, rooibos and several other tea varieties.
Coca-Cola is introducing a new blended tea drink originating from Japan. Sokenbicha, an unsweetened bottled tea with no calories, is aimed at people who are open to alternative health remedies. The drink will be available in 5 varieties, including green tea and a blend of cinnamon and ginger. Besides low-key marketing, there are plans to promote the beverage to chiropractors, acupuncturists and spa operators. It will hit store shelves at Whole Foods from October. Sokenbicha is Coke's largest tea brand in Japan. The idea behind the project stems from a small group inside Coca-Cola charged with finding and marketing niche products.
Honest Tea has reintroduced its kombucha products to store shelves at Whole Foods Market across the US. Following a voluntary withdrawal of all brands of raw kombucha from store shelves in June due to high alcohol content, Honest Tea has developed a proprietary process to brew Honest Kombucha that allows for the benefits of raw, unpasteurized kombucha while ensuring lower, more stable alcohol levels. Honest Kombucha is available in five low sugar varieties: Berry Hibiscus, Lemon Ginger, Peach Mango, Maqui Berry Grapefruit and Apple Jasmine with 35 calories and 7 grams of sugar per serving. Honest Kombucha will be available at Whole Foods Market stores and other natural food stores nationwide the last week in August 2010 at a suggested retail price of $3.49 - $3.99.
Hall of Fame Beverages, makers of functional and energy drinks, is the latest company to create a ready-to-drink iced tea. Grand Ma Ma's Sweet Southern Tea is based on the character of Grand Ma Ma from Converse shoe commercials, played by former basketball star Larry Johnson. This line of flavored teas is currently in development and will come in sweetened natural flavors. The beverage is produced in Tampa, Florida and will be distributed initially by Elmira Distributing Company of New York, as well as by direct store delivery process. The launch campaign will be supported by Larry Johnson himself.
Donald Trump, the famous businessman known for many audacious business ventures, has launched a gourmet tea line bearing his name. Trump Tea stems from a partnership between Talbott Teas, a purveyor of upscale teas, and The Trump Organization. The range, comprised of exclusively formulated whole leaf tea blends, includes four varieties: The Park Avenue, The Union Square, The Mar-a-Lago and The Westchester. The premium tea blends are packaged in a keepsake tins, filled with pyramid sachets of whole leaf tea and organic ingredients. The Trump Tea collection will be available at select retailers starting this fall.
Campbell Soup Company is expanding its lineup of V8 V-Fusion beverages, which combine fruit and vegetable juices, with new products containing green tea. According to the manufacturer, V8 V-Fusion + Tea provides a combined serving of vegetables and fruit (1/4 cup vegetables and 1/4 cup of fruit) in each 8-oz (250ml) serving, along with antioxidants from natural green tea. The line extension includes 3 flavors: Raspberry Green Tea, Pomegranate Green Tea and Pineapple Mango Green Tea. The drinks will be available in the US from October.
The Tea Spot, a company manufacturing a patent pending compostable tea infuser, has received a US government grant to help bring the product to market. The Small Business Innovation Research grant, awarded by the US Department of Agriculture, aims to stimulate technological innovation in the private sector and help address important scientific problems. The bio-based disposable loose tea infuser, called ecosteep, fits in standard to-go cups and allows tea leaves enough room to fully infuse. The grant will allow the manufacturer to select a fitting renewable and biodegradable material and help determine the life-cycle environmental impact of the infuser.
After several years in the pipeline, Honest Tea is launching the first ready-to-drink organic bottled tea naturally sweetened with organic stevia. Passion Fruit Green Tea with Maqui Berry combines sweet and tart notes of passion fruit with maqui berry, the South American superfruit. It is the first zero calorie tea naturally sweetened with organic stevia extract,a leafy plant native to South America that is sweeter than sugar, but does not contain any calories. According to the company's CEO, the drink took a while to develop, because the ingredient was not allowed as an ingredient in beverages and it was hard to formulate a drink with the right taste and function. The 16.9oz (500ml) bottle will retail for $1.79.
Whole Foods is removing all kombucha teas from its stores because of concerns over slightly elevated alcohol levels. Data indicates that kombucha, a fermented and sweetened tea, may contain levels of alcohol above 0.5% ABV, which would require a government warning in the US. According to the grocery giant, a couple dozen kombucha suppliers have agreed to voluntarily withdraw the products, available in bottles and on tap, to review these potential labeling issues for a swift resolution. Kombucha is one of the best-selling beverages available at Whole Foods, which has more than 290 stores in the US, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Organizers of the World Tea Championships announced winners of the 2010 North American Tea Championship Iced Tea Class competition. The first place winners in 13 different categories, ranging from unflavored to herbal varieties in ready-to-drink and food service sectors, go to: Adagio Teas, Ito En, China Mist Brands, New Leaf Brands, The Republic of Tea, Rishi Tea, S&D Coffee, Shangri-La Tea Company, TeaGschwendner and True Brew. The championship, held for the third year in a row, received more than 80 applications from premium tea manufacturers. According to market research, ready-to-drink teas were the fastest-growing category of refreshment beverage in the U.S. last year.
The Healthy Beverage Company, the manufacturer of Steaz iced tea brand, has redesigned the packaging of its Steaz Sparkling Green Tea line. The goal of the new look, created by Wallace Church branding firm, was to create a design that expressed the very essence of the brand: vitality, energy and passion. The central element of the new design is a lotus flower constructed of repeating tea leaves, an icon that radiates energy and vitality while embodying the brand's holistic sensibility. Adding to the impact of the brand on shelf is the color of each label, which mirrors the color of the teas themselves.
Lipton is redesigning its pyramid tea bag range to give it a more premium and upscale feel on the US market. Moxie TM, an international brand design and development firm, has created new visuals with vibrant colors, real photography, and flavor imagery to help fulfill the tea’s promise of indulgence, excitement and affordability. Lipton is thereby trying to position its products in the gourmet category tea and capitalize on the growing awareness about the health benefits of tea drinking. According to a market research firm, US tea sales will double from $7.4 billion in 2007 to $15 billion by 2012.
Hydro One Beverages, manufacturer of premium functional drinks, has unveiled an new category of green tea beverages. Hydro One TRUE Green Teas will be available in three flavors: Naturally Sweetened Green Tea, Sugar Free Green Tea and Sugar Free Organic Green Tea. The products are scientifically formulated with natural plant sterols, scientifically proven to help lower your cholesterol. Hence, the beverage line has achieved the Heart Choice Certification. The products will be available online and in The Fresh Market and other gourmet health stores across the US.
Cooper Tea has struck a deal with 7-Eleven stores to offer its organic iced tea on beverage fountain machines in many retail points across the US. The organic iced tea was developed by international tea master Barry W. Cooper and the Cooper Tea Co. The tea concentrate, with no artificial colors or added flavors, has received USDA organic certification earlier this year. It will be available on the Big Gulp fountain machine in nearly 70% of 7-Eleven stores that have previously carried its conventional variety.
The Coca Cola Company, the world's leading beverage manufacturer, has introduced a tea-flavored version of its Sprite brand to try to tap into the huge Chinese soft drinks market. The drink, called Spritea, contains a carbonated blend of local green tea flavors. The product has undergone a massive consumer testing to define the right amount of sweetness and percentage of bubbles. Ready-to-drink tea consumption in China has increased over 30 percent annually in recent years, with tea and sparkling beverages representing over 20 percent of the entire Chinese beverage sector.
Inko's, a beverage company focused on ready-to-drink white teas, has launched two new flavors aimed at New York City's Public High School vending machines. Inko’s Blueberry and Inko’s Strawberry White Teas meet the requirements of NYC's Wellness policy, which mandates to improve the quality and nutritional value of foods and beverages that are available to children. Drinks available in schools must not contain any artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, and contain a maximum of 25 calories per 8oz. (25ml) serving. For the launch, totally new graphic art, including a new logo, was created to appeal to a younger audience.
Tazo Tea, owned by Starbucks, is expanding its bottled tea line with a new range of naturally sweetened zero calorie teas. The Zero Calorie Naturally Sweetened iced teas come in three varieties: Zen (lemongrass and spearmint), Passion (hibiscus flowers and exotic fruits) and Refresh (peppermint and spearmint). They are sweetened using stevia leaves, whose extracts have up to 300 times the sweetness of sugar. The range will be available in Whole Foods and other natural food markets in the US beginning in April 2010.
Sweet Leaf Tea, a manufacturer of organic iced teas from Austin, TX, is launching three new extensions of its ready-to-drink line. Lemon Iced Tea is a mix of black tea and lemons, Citrus Green Tea offers a mix of green tea and citrus flavors of orange, lemon, and lime, whereas Diet Citrus Green contains the same ingredients with less calories. The three new flavors are available in 16oz. (500ml) cans or glass bottles, 20oz. (600ml) plastic bottles or 64oz. (2l) multi-serve plastic containers.
Steaz and Guayaki products were singled out at this year's BevNet 'Best of 2009' awards. Steaz Zero Calorie Sparkling Green Tea won in the 'Best New Organic Beverage' and 'Best New Carbonated Beverage' categories, whereas Guayaki Lemon Elation claimed the 'Best New Tea' and 'Best Packaging Design' awards. Coconut water was declared product of the year for the strongest track record in terms of evolving into a new category.
Sweet Leaf Tea, maker of natural and organic beverages, is launching a new line of 16oz. (0.5l) aluminum cans to complement its bottled range. The new ready-to-drink offerings include four classic Sweet Leaf Tea flavors and two new flavors - Lemon Iced Tea and Citrus Green Tea. All six varieties are USDA Certified Organic and the two newest flavors are scheduled to launch in January 2010. The cans have a suggested retail price of $1.29, or 99 cents on promotion.
Yorkshire Tea brand, part of British-based Taylors of Harrogate coffee and tea manufacturer, is launching a new range of seasonal tea varieties. The range is meant to underscore the brand's specialist tea knowledge and cater to customers' demand for seasonal produce. Yorkshire Gold Season’s Pick line includes Assam Gold, Rwanda Gold and Kenya Gold, with each tea available for select four month seasonal periods. Retail price is £2.99 for a box of 80 tea bags.
Whittard of Chelsea was forced to withdraw some of its products recently due to their macadamia and almond nut content, which was not specified on the label. UK's major tea manufacturer had to pull Rooibos Cream Caramel Flavored Tea, Sticky Toffee Pudding Tea and Spiced Chai Green Tea products off the shelves to prevent complaints from people allergic or intolerant to nuts. The company is in touch with relevant allergy support organizations, which will inform their members of the withdrawal.
Red Mango, a manufacturer of frozen yogurt, will be the first retailer to sell made-to-order iced teas fortified with probiotics. The new beverage line contains a patented strain of probiotic shown to help support the immune system and regulate the digestive system. Probiotics are dietary supplements of live microorganisms that aim to improve intestinal microbial balance. The range contains three flavors: lemonade green tea, vanilla black tea and wildberry hibiscus tea, all sweetened with natural cane sugar.
Arizona beverages has just launched a line of compact beverages comprising of two energy shots and one relaxation shot. Scientifically formulated Fast Shots are based on green tea and mixed with ingredients such as vitamins, minerals and taurine in order to give a jitter-free boost of energy or to help relax. The products contain no chemical preservatives, no artificial flavors or colors and come in 2 oz. (60 ml) PET bottles.
Arizona Beverages has teamed up with Nestlé Waters North America Inc. to create a line of tea-infused waters. Arizona Tea Waters is an organic low-calorie, tea-infused beverage line made using spring water, green tea, sugar cane and fruit extracts. The drinks will start off using Nestlé's Poland Spring water and will later be made from company's other regional water sources. The 20-ounce (600ml) amber PET plastic bottles with an oxygen barrier retail for $1.49.
Peet's Coffee & Tea introduced a new line of ready-to-drink iced teas made from whole tea leaves. The new range includes five lightly sweetened beverages with natural flavors such as peach, mint or honey, and an unflavored version. The teas are initially available at 25 Peet's retail outlets in California, as well as select gourmet food stores in the region. According to the company, cold tea is the primary way in which people consume tea in the U.S. and the bottled tea market has grown steadily at about 15 percent in recent years.
Coca Cola has recently released a green tea flavored beverage in Japan. Coca Cola Light Plus Catechin contains green tea antioxidants, called catechins, and is aimed at young, health conscious women. Its arch-rival, Pepsi, also plans to bring a similar health-focused drink on the market, which will go by the name of Pepsi Shiso and is based on basil.
Arizona Beverages and Bigelow Tea have formed a partnership to introduce a new line of organic ready-to-drink iced teas. The new line of 20 oz. (600ml) green tea beverages will benefit from Bigelow's expertise in the specialty tea sector, whereas Arizona will supply its know-how in packaging and distribution. The range includes the following flavors: Acai White Cranberry, Original Green, Lemon Ginger and Mango Lychee.
In an attempt to create the next generation of energy drinks, companies are increasingly looking into an amino acid found in tea, called L-theanine, to enhance concentration and focus. Preliminary studies suggest the substance might calm the brain to increase concentration and mental stamina, instead of a quick energy boost currently provided by caffeine and taurine. L-theanine is readily absorbed in large quantities, crosses the blood-brain barrier and gets into the brain fast. Products such as SoBe lifewater, Vitamin Water, ViB and new Gatorade drink Tiger, all contain L-theanine.
Lipton is beginning to sell Rainforest Alliance-certified tea in the US this month. The Anglo-Dutch food giant, which launched the sustainable teas two years ago in Europe, expects all of its teas to sport the sustainable logo by 2015. Rainforest Alliance certifies farms that meet specific criteria for worker welfare, farm management and environmental protection. Unilever accounts for approximately 12% of the world's tea.
Arizona Beverages has recently introduced three new varieties of organically-produced iced teas. Green Tea, Yumberry Green Tea and Pomegranate Green tea varieties use organic sweeteners such as honey and cane juice, and contain no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. The new products will be available in the northeast US this spring and countrywide shortly thereafter. The suggested retail is $1.79 per 20oz. / 600ml bottle.
The new line of Tea Etc's loose leaf teas has won the 2009 "Best New Product" award, the World Tea Expo has announced. Get Real Get Loose tea range was singled out as creative and eco-friendly. The packaging is made of pre and post consumer recycled steel, water based inks, environmentally friendly adhesives and recycled paper. Compostable brew filters are included on the outside of each package, offering a novel way to brew loose tea. The range features twelve types of organic and conventional varieties.
Inko has debuted its eleventh low-calorie, low-caffeine ready-to-drink white tea beverage. Inko’s Lemon White Tea has 56 calories and only 5.8 milligrams of caffeine per bottle, which makes it one of the lowest calorie-sweetened teas on the North American market. Medical studies suggest that white tea, at the center of Inko's brand, may prevent certain forms of cancer, hence the company's continued support for definitive cancer research in that area.
Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. chief executive officer Larry Young has revealed that Snapple tea brand is currently getting a makeover. Products will be sweetened with sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, with bottle and label designs evolving as well. Young believes that the timing is right to invest in a makeover now, in order to take full advantage of the economic upswing later on. Speaking about the state of the beverage industry and the broader US economy, Young expects for things to pick up in the second half of 2009, with "a new start" occurring in 2010.
Ito En, the world’s largest manufacturer of green tea products and beverages, added a line of Naturally Sweet iced teas to its Tea's Tea range at Expo West 2009 in Anaheim, California. The new beverages are targeted at consumers looking to switch from sweetened to unsweetened tea. They contain only 8 grams of natural cane sugar and 40 calories per serving, and come in Blueberry Green, Citrus Black and Mango Oolong flavors. The range retails for $1.99 per unit and is available at grocery and specialty food stores nationwide.
An agreement has been reached by the Coca-Cola Co. and joint-venture partner Nestle to settle a dispute with 27 states over claims that Enviga green tea burns calories, resulting in weight loss. The companies will pay $650,000 for the settlement and have agreed to re-label Enviga to add disclosures and disclaim weight-loss benefits. Any marketing of Enviga or a similar beverage that uses the terms "the calorie burner," "negative calories" or "drink negative" must clearly disclose that the product doesn't lead to weight loss without diet and exercise. Coca-Cola introduced Enviga in the U.S. in November 2006.
Revolution Tea is introducing a new line of premium iced teas aimed at restaurant businesses in the US. The teas will be packed in unique one-gallon (3.8 l) containers that enable shelf-stable liquids to be dispensed safely over extended time without refrigeration, and will be available in five flavors, including Classic Iced and Golden Peach. The products will be distributed nationally by Revolution Tea and through the company’s distribution agreement with Kraft Foodservice North America.
Twinings is opting for a sustainable and compostable packaging film for its Everyday tea range in the UK. The material, called NatureFlex, is a cellulose-based film, made from renewable wood pulp and metallised in-house. The company behind it, Innovia Films, claims the biodegradable film breaks down in a home compost bin within a matter of weeks because of its low metal content. According to the manufacturer, the packaging also offers high gloss and transparency, resistance to grease and oil, as well as good barrier to gases and aromas.
Frito-Lay Japan is turning towards tea and coffee for a more exciting alternative to the conventional snacking concept. The Caramel Macchiatto and Green Tea Latte flavor corn chips, recently introduced in Japan, are made of puffed corn and contain real coffee, chocolate, tea and milk. The chips, dubbed caffeine snacks, pack 150 mg of caffeine, the equivalent of two cups of coffee. Previously the Japanese arm of the company has introduced unusual snack flavors such as Strawberry Cheetos and Honey-Butter Doritos.
Steaz Organic Iced Teaz picked up top honors in BevNet's Best of 2008 Best Tea category. Facing a large field of contestants, from Arizona to ZT Tea, the product line was singled out as high-quality, organic and Fair Trade certified canned tea, with a balanced amount of sweetness and rich fruit flavors. As a symbol of company's commitment to fair trade practices, the front of each can features photographs of fair trade farmers from Sri Lanka, China and Africa where Steaz sources its tea. Steaz also tied for first place in Best Organic Beverage rankings.
The latest addition to Numi Tea's range of organic teas comes in the form of Pu Erh, a tea with a unique fermentation and ripening process from the Yunnan region in China. Promising health benefits and an age-long tradition that characterize Pu Erh tea, mixed with Numi's innovative spirit, have inspired four flavors: Emperor's, Chocolate, Magnolia and Mint. A box containing 16 tea bags retails for $9.99.
Similarly to stock markets worldwide, the Chinese speculative bubble on the price of Pu Erh tea, driven in large part by China's new rich for whom it has been a status symbol of sorts, has recently crashed. The fermented variety from the country's southwestern Yunnan province has reportedly dropped by up to 85% since peaking in May last year, due to overproduction and a diminished appetite for exotic assets. A 100g brick of 60-year-old Pu Erh sold for 300,000 yuan ($39,400) last February.
Nestea recently added a Red Tea Pomegranate Passion Fruit flavored drink to its ready-to-drink iced tea range in the US. The beverage is derived from the South African Rooibos, or red bush, plant and is mixed with the sweet taste of Pomegranate and Passion Fruit juice. It boasts no artificial colors and all-natural fruit flavors. The new drink, licensed by The Coca-Cola Company, will be available nationwide in 20oz (600 ml) and 16.9oz (500 ml) PET bottles from February 2009.
Honest Tea introduced the latest addition to its line of Honest Ade drinks, the Superfruit Punch, at the National Association for Convenience and Petroleum Retailer's annual showcase in Chicago. Superfruit Punch contains two antioxidant-rich berries - Yummberries and Goji Berries - which have proven popular amongst health-conscious consumers in the New York area, where the product was on trial since August. Superfruit Punch is available in a 16.9 fl. oz. (500 ml), fully-recyclable PET 1 bottle with a suggested retail price of $1.59 and is expected to roll out in other markets in the coming months.
The Anglo-Dutch food giant Unilever is recalling several milk tea powder products in Hong Kong after tests found them contaminated with melamine. In a public statement, the firm said the recalled products were made using locally-manufactured milk powder with traces of melamine, a chemical used for making plastics and fertilizer. This comes just a week after the company had to proceed to similar actions in Taiwan. Powdered formulas with melamine, ingredient used to boost products' protein levels, were blamed for killing four babies and sickening more than 50,000 others in China.
Starbucks has agreed to a licensing agreement with the Pepsi and Unilever to manufacture, market and distribute its Tazo brand of ready-to-drink beverages in the US and Canada. Tazo's range consists of over a hundred of tea, fruit and herbal beverages in bottled, filterbag, full leaf and tea latte concentrate varieties. It will be integrated into the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership, the leading distributor of RTD tea products in the U.S., expanding the joint venture between PepsiCo and Unilever created in 1994. Acquired by Starbucks in 1999, Tazo is the exclusive tea brand offered at Starbucks coffeehouses worldwide and Seattle's Best Coffee cafes in the U.S.
Suntory Ltd, a Japanese drink manufacturer, plans to team up with Swiss food giant Nestle to offer its green tea drinks in the US. The deal covers exclusive rights to Iyemon green tea brand, which will be initially sold on the West coast, and will commence in May. The companies are looking to tap into America's booming tea market, expected to double in size and reach nearly $15 billion in sales by 2012. The ready-to-drink teas come with a price tag of $2.50 per 12oz/360ml bottle and are anticipated to generate annual sales of $19.4 million.
The Healthy Beverage Company introduces its line of Steaz Sparkling Green Tea drinks set to promote healthier drinking habits and offer an alternative to regular sodas. Unlike the majority of soft drinks containing high fructose corn syrup, which is thought to contribute towards ailments like diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis, it is sweetened using organic sugar cane and provides the usual health benefits associated with green tea - antioxidants and polyphenols. To reinforce products’ appeal to the young - and their more grown-up and increasingly health-conscious entourage - the company simultaneously launches a program promoting healthier dietary habits at schools. Taking advantage of growing skepticism towards the availability of junk food on educational premises, the company from Newton, PA has found a promising niche for beverages that ally the sweet taste that kids are used with the health benefits that their parents care for.
One of the world's busiest online tea stores, Adagio Teas, is introducing a new line of gourmet teabags delivering the superior flavors of loose teas within the convenience of a disposable tea bag. The new bags have a pyramid shape, thereby allowing plenty of room for expansion of large leaves during the brewing process as was previously only available in finer, loose gourmet teas. The company notes its new bags are in sharp contrast to typical teabags containing what the industry terms "dust," the least expensive tea grade.
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The Health Tea Wand™ is a hand crafted glass straw that brews and filters tea leaves through specially designed strainer holes in the convenience of your own cup. The new device is packaged in a transparent carry case that contains a compartment to transport your favorite loose tea.
Celestial Seasonings announced two TeaHouse Chai flavors: Vanilla Ginger Green Tea, a combination of black and green tea spiced with vanilla, ginger and cinnamon, and Sweet Coconut Thai Decaf, combining decaffeinated black tea, with rooibos and Thai spices. Both products - available in teabags - will be available in stores beginning Fall 2005, where they'll join four existing Chais: Original India Spice, Decaf Original India Spice, Honey Vanilla White Tea and Chocolate Caramel Enchantment.
Choice Organic Teas is introducing organic Fair Trade Certified White Tea to US consumers this October in tea bags and loose leaf. According to the company this is the first Fair Trade Certified White Tea to reach US consumers in tea bag form. Choice Organic White Tea is produced in the unique style known as White Peony. Choice Organic Teas became the first tea crafter in the US to Fair Trade certify all qualifying teas.
Teaology tea has introduced four organic hot tea flavors to compliment its line of travel iced tea mixes. Teaology hot teas, soon to be rolled out nationwide, will be available in recyclable boxes of 20 oxygen bleached tea bags, individually wrapped in biodegradable packaging, printed with soy based inks, and certified kosher. The four varieties include lemon myrtle kiwi green tea, grapefruit ginger yerba mate, pomegranate peach blueberry green tea, and zinc echinacea peppermint.
Celestial Seasonings introduces a new line of Organic Teas with four unique flavors: Decaf Lemon Myrtle Green Tea, Mango Darjeeling Black Tea, Vanilla Apple White Tea, and Sweet Clementine Chamomile Herb Tea. The company is also adding the organic version of its traditional Black and Green teas. Packaged in boxes of 10 tea bags, the new teas will be available in stores in the Fall of 2005. The new teas bring the overall number of varieties offered by Celestial Seasonings, a brand of The Hain Celestial Group, to more than 90.
A Napa Valley distillery has introduced a vodka infused with Chinese tea. The new product, called 'Charbay Tea Time', contains extractions of four tea varieties from China's Anhwei province. Master distiller Miles Karakasevic apparently spent three years sourcing the teas and perfecting his techniques for extracting and distilling them. "I wanted to highlight the delicacy, lightness and flavor of green tea, but in a martini or rocks glass," said Mr Karakasevic. "It was no small feat to combine the two distinctive worlds of tea and vodka."
Affinitea Brewing Technologies has released its patented Affinitea Tea Caddy. This revolutionary patented technology enables any espresso machine to brew high quality loose leaf tea. The novel technology enables foodservice companies the ability to brew loose-leaf tea beverages within 45 seconds. The Affinitea Beverage Infuser is a patented apparatus similar to an espresso machine coffee filter that allows the operator to provide customers either hot or iced brews in 30-45 seconds.
A new generation of ultra-high technology "elder-tech" devices targeted at the world's senior citizen population is making waves. In Japan, an electronic teapot called the I-pot, is connected to the internet and notifies friends or relatives if a daily routine is skipped, thereby noting a possible problem; sort of a safety check-in for seniors living on their own without assisted care. The device was created by electronics-maker Zojirushi, Fujitsu Corp. and phone giant NTT.
Tazo green tea beverages, a summer promotion at Starbucks locations in US and Canada, helped increase company’s July sales to $495 million, a 21% growth over the same period last year. Made with matcha tea - tea leaves that are picked young and pulverized into powder - the drink debuted in Taiwan and Singapore in 2001, and has since been added in Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Korea, Hong Kong and Malaysia. The new drinks will be in stores on these shores through Sept. 30.
Aviva, a Sandpoint, Idaho manufacturer of Yerba Mate beverages (the South American brewed beverage), announces the availability of its new summer iced tea offerings. The company has blended Yerba Mate with various fruits, essences and botanicals to create a line of brewed beverages for warm weather enjoyment.
Numi's Flowering Tea Gift Set was awarded Gold in the Food Gift category as part of the NASFT 2005 Awards Competition taking place in New York during the Summer Fancy Food Show. The Flowering Tea Set offers a bouquet of nine individually wrapped tea rosettes. These are hand-sewn organically grown teas from China, that beautifully unfurl when placed in water. Teas include black, green and white varieties. All are packaged in Numi’s signature mahogany and sustainable bamboo.
Ito En is adding two new flavors to its catalog of ready-to-drink teas. Lemongrass Green and Rose Green increase the Teas’ Tea line to nine unique flavors. These claim three out of the top five fastest selling RTD beverages. The market for ready-to-drink teas is growing at 26%. According to SPINSscan, Ito En products are contributing to 7.4 points of this increase.
Rishi Tea has introduced a line of Artisan Iced Teas. All are original recipes hand crafted by Rishi's master blender using organic loose leaf tea, botanicals and fruit. Each box contains five 1-quart filter pouches. The filter pouches as well as the packaging are biodegradable. Rishi Organic Artisan Iced Teas are now available in gourmet natural and specialty food stores nationwide.
Revolution Tea is adding five new flavors to its popular Infuser Tea Bag line. The five additions are Organic Green, Citrus Spice Herbal, White Pear, Black Citron, and Organic Green Earl Grey. These expand the company’s hot tea line to fifteen flavors, available in 16 count retail box (suggested retail $4.99), as well as the single serving boxes.
Taiyo International, the North American sales office for Taiyo Kagaku Japan, has rolled out a highly purified, standardized green tea catechin extracts for use in bottled drinks without the color or astringency typically associated with such extracts. These green tea catechins act as both potent natural antioxidants and antimicrobial agents. Taiyo also recently launched standardized natural green tea caffeine extracts.
Celestial Seasonings introduces Blueberry Ice Cool Brew Iced Tea. The new tea is a blend of blueberries and black tea formulated to brew in cool water. The other Cool Brew flavors are: Peach Ice, Raspberry Ice and Lemon Ice. The company notes both black tea and blueberries are high in antioxidants.
Suntory International and Allied Domecq Spirits, North America have launched ZEN(TM) Green Tea Liqueur, a novel blend of the finest Japanese green tea leaves, premium herbs and natural flavors. The new super-premium liqueur is set to create a new spirits category in the US. Suntory already markets several green tea liqueurs in Japan, but developed ZEN to suit the American palate, with an alcohol content of 20 percent. ZEN is packaged in elegant 750ml bottles with an MSRP of $29.99. It will be distributed by Allied Domecq Spirits, North America, Westport, CT.
Liberty Imports USA, Inc. (Bethlehem, PA) is expanding its product line with four new nectar-flavored gourmet teas combining the "flavor of paradise with the healthy lift of iced tea." The domestically produced nectar teas will be available in 16-ounce textured glass bottles and four tropical flavors: Mango, Guava, Passion Fruit, and Mango-Passion Light. Suggested retail price for the 16-ounce bottle is $1.99.