Sweet Leaf Tea synched up with a pair of trends yesterday, joining the growing group of high-end tea houses who are releasing their products in cans, and doing so by floating either a product picture or announcement to followers on the fast-growing social networking site Twitter.
A photo released to Sweet Leaf’s “followers” – fans of the brand who receive its intermittently relevant stream of product information, commentary, and folk wisdom – showed an 8 oz. can of the brand’s peach flavor on an employee’s desk. The release of Sweet Leaf’s new information via Tweeter is part of a steady trickle of new product news released by beverage and other packaged goods companies in recent months.
Sweet Leaf’s Original and Mango flavors will also be available in cans, according to company spokeswoman Charla Adams. The Mango flavor will contain no caffeine, she added.
The 8 oz. can has been in the works for some time – as early as the fall, brand co-creator Clayton Christopher was hinting that a canned product was in the works for school vending channels. Despite the original formula’s sweet taste, the can contains 60 calories — keeping it under the 66 calorie per 8 oz. serving guidelines set under the School Beverage Guidelines introduced in 2007.
The packaging extension means that the company has now moved into glass, PET plastic and aluminum cans in a short period of time.
The canned extension is one that several new age tea companies have adopted in recent months. Earlier this week, the Healthy Beverage Company announced plans for a major expansion of its canned 16 oz. product into several mainstream supermarket chains as well as its chief channel, Whole Foods, at a roughly $1-per-can price point. Meanwhile, fellow LOHAS brand Guayaki announced that it would be taking its own Yerba Mate infusions into cans later in the summer.
In an odd juxtaposition, bargain tea baron AriZona Beverage Co. recently rolled out its own organic tea lines – in 20 oz. bottles. While AriZona has long made the bulk of its sales through giant, $.99 cans of its sweetened tea, its highly decorative bottles have traditionally sold at a higher price point.