Product Focus: Iced Tea

Driven by the growing demand of health-conscious consumers, global consumption of iced/ready-to-drink tea continues to increase.

Arizona Good BrewRefreshing, flavorful and good for you, that’s iced tea’s position in the crowded beverage category. And June is National Iced Tea Month, an American original.

Its origins date back to the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, when the East India pavilion director was frustrated no one wanted hot tea on a blistering summer day. So he circulated and chilled the tea through pipes immersed in ice, with the resulting cool beverage quickly becoming a hit with fairgoers.

Today ready-to-drink iced tea is a booming business in the U.S. and is catching on in other parts of the world. Whether black, green, oolong or white, iced tea is gaining popularity as consumers seek out alternatives to sugar-rich carbonated beverages. The added bonus with tea is the thousands of published studies in medical journals supporting the health and wellness benefits of tea's ingredients.

As consumer demand has grown, frequent innovation and the marketing of new products have helped keep tea top-of-mind for consumers, according to Peter Goggi, president of the Tea Association of the U.S.A., New York. “Many companies have started developing interesting new tea products and marketing tea in new and unique ways,” he wrote in the annual State of the Industry report. “Further, new delivery formats and flavored blends, refined messaging about tea, its origins and health benefits, as well as increased availability, offer opportunities for growth. There is demand for more transparency and foods that are closer to their natural state. Tea is a natural, simple and whole food.”

“Tea’s use as an added flavor or functional ingredient has become increasingly common in other soft drinks, such as fruit drinks and enhanced waters, raising awareness and drawing new consumers into the market.” - Lu Ann Williams, Innova Market Insights

Home-brewed Taste, www.drinkarizona.com

AriZona Beverages introduces Good Brew, an all-natural line of leaf-brewed teas made with real sugar for a fresh home-brewed taste. The company kicks off the launch with six iconic flavors: Arnold Palmer Half & Half, Green Tea, Lemon Tea, Peach Tea, Sweet Tea and Unsweet Tea. Good Brew comes in single-serve 20-oz. and multi-serve 59-oz. bottles, with suggested retail prices of $1.79 and $2.59, respectively. Good Brew contains 60-70 calories per 8-oz. serving, with no artificial flavors, colors or preservatives.

Kid-approved Juice with Tea, www.HarvestHill.com

Harvest Hill Beverage Co. is rolling out Juicy Juice Teasers. Available in the juice aisle, this new line features an innovative blend of fruit juice and tea. Juicy Juice Teasers is made only with decaffeinated and caffeine-free teas, and, like all Juicy Juice beverages, contains no high-fructose corn syrup, no cane sugar and no artificial sweeteners. The sweetness comes straight from the fruit. The result is a beverage with 50 percent less sugar than typical juice. Juicy Juice Teasers come in 10-oz. single-serve six-packs and economical 64-oz. bottles Flavors are: Apple, Berry, Half & Half and Peach.

Tea House Collection, www.pureleaf.com

Pure Leaf Iced Tea, a product of The Pepsi Lipton Tea Partnership, is launching the Pure Leaf Tea House Collection, a super-premium line of the finest organic tea leaves brewed with fruits and herbs, for exciting aromas and layers of flavors. The flavors are: Black Tea Sicilian Lemon & Honeysuckle, Black Tea Wild Blackberry & Sage and Green Tea Fuji Apple & Ginger. In addition, the brand is building on the popularity of its Unsweetened Iced Tea by launching two new flavors -- Unsweetened Black Tea with Lemon and Unsweetened Green Tea -- giving consumers more zero-calorie options.