Distribution Roundup: Purpose Tea Launches in Southwest

Purpose Tea Launches Into Albertson’s, Market Street

Texas-based Purpose Tea, maker of ready-to-drink purple teas, launched last week into roughly 100 retail locations including Market Street, Albertson’s and independent stores in Texas, New Mexico and the upper Midwest. The company plans to expand into Hy-Vee locations after the new year.

Founded this past spring, Purpose Tea is a three-SKU line of Kenyan-sourced purple teas, which include Lemon Bliss, Mint To Be, and original Purple Reign flavors. The product is sugar-sweetened and ranges from 60 to 80 calories per 16 oz. bottle, depending on the variety. Purpose plans to introduce unsweetened varieties and “hybrid category” flavors in the near future.

The line currently retails for $2.49 per bottle at Market Street stores, but the target SRP is between $2.69-$2.89.

Speaking to BevNET, Nguyen said she founded the company after discovering the purple tea crop during while visiting Kenya. The company works closely with its source in order to provide financial and nutritional education to the farm workers who pick the tea.

In addition to securing shelf placement at stores in the Southwest and Midwest, Nguyen said the brand will soon be available in the Pacific Northwest, Great Plains, and California, in addition to expanding throughout Texas. New retailers will be named after January 1.

“We’ve been very disciplined and diligent about coming up with our go-to-market strategy and executing,” Nguyen said.

Purpose Tea will also launch e-commerce sales via Amazon in January.

“I think we’re primed, not just we as a company but purple tea as well as a variety tea,” Nguyen said. “We’re just so excited about capitalizing on the growth in RTD, the growth in specialty tea, and of course this movement to a much more transparent way of doing business. I think consumers are much more savvy to what kind of brands they want to buy from and they want to make sure that the brand they are supporting has a purpose.”

Humblemaker Partners with Los Angeles Distributing Co.

California-based Humblemaker Coffee Co. announced last week in a press release that it has partnered with Los Angeles Distributing Company, a business wholesale distribution company servicing more than 2,500 accounts in Los Angeles and Orange County.

Founded in 2016, Humblemaker — which produces a line of ready-to-drink cold brew coffee — is currently available at Gelson’s Markets in Southern California.

Soylent Goes Wide in California

After dipping dipping its toes into retail earlier this year with a 100-store test, meal replacement maker Soylent is expanding into 800 West Coast 7-Eleven locations. The expansion will cover Greater Seattle, Portland, and the Bay Area and will include the brand’s Cacao, Cafe Chai, Cafe Coffiest, and Cafe Vanilla flavors.

“We’re thrilled to come full circle with Soylent’s retail debut in the Bay Area,” said Soylent CEO Bryan Crowley in a press release. “Expanding into the market where the Company was founded and has so many loyal supporters is really special. Our success with an innovative company like 7-Eleven has provided us with an invaluable outlet to reach anyone who is looking to fuel their day with a complete, sustainable, and affordable meal.”

Soylent, which found early success in e-commerce, made its brick-and-mortar debut in July with an 18 store 7-Eleven launch in the Los Angeles area, followed shortly after by an expansion into Texas.

Speaking at BevNET Live Winter 2017 in Santa Monica, Calif., 7-Eleven EVP and chief merchandising officer Jesus Delgado-Jenkins said the retailer has increased its focus on small tests for emerging products before expanding placement to larger regional markets.

“We first want to make sure that there’s a customer for this product and that you understand that customer,” Delgado-Jenkins said of the tests. “There’s an occasion that you’re fulfilling, or a problem you’re solving for. And when we understand those two very well, we’ll figure out what’s the right geography and what’s the right way to bring the product to market.”

Sunniva Super Coffee Grows in Grocery

At launch in 2015, Sunniva Super Coffee targeted food service accounts, marketing its MCT Oil and whey protein coffee line to college campuses nationwide. Having signed a contract in May with foodservice multinational Compass, Sunniva is now looking to go deeper into retail in order to complement its 850 current on-premise accounts.

Speaking to BevNET, CEO Jim DeCicco said the New York-based company is focused on building out placement in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. In August, Sunniva went chainwide in Wegman’s. In April, the brand entered Acme Fresh Market, followed by placements in Wawa and QuickChek stores this past fall. Last year, the company added 35 Whole Foods stores in the Mid-Atlantic. In addition to its single serve offering, Decicco said the company will also begin selling 12-packs in grocery in 2018.

In the New York City area, Sunniva signed with direct store distributor Dora’s Naturals to service the New York City market. Over the past six months, it has added Fairway stores and roughly 500 independent accounts in the city.

“It’s been fun, but DSD requires a lot more maintenance and a lot more support, and that’s what we need to do,” DeCicco said. “Before we open another DSD market, we’re going to saturate this one. That’s why our focus right now is limited from [Washington] D.C. to Boston.”

While continuing to focus on retail, DeCicco said the brand’s mission is to provide healthier energy options for colleges and non-natural markets.

“Food service and c-store is really what we’re most excited about,” he said. “When my brother [founder Jordan DeCicco] started this thing in a dorm room, he didn’t say ‘hey, I want to start a healthy product for Whole Foods,’ he asked why wasn’t there a healthy option for him.”