Inko’s Expands in Walmart

Walmart is lightening up, especially on the tea shelves.

Inko’s LLC, makers of low- and no-calorie white teas, announced Thursday its expansion into 2,500 Walmart stores nationwide. The expansion represents an increase from the brand’s Northeast test market of 200 stores in the first quarter and 783 stores by July.

“This is part of our mission statement, to bring a healthy, low-calorie tea to as many people as possible,” said Andrew Schamisso, founder and president of Inko’s Teas. “Where better to do that than Walmart?”

Schamisso said that Walmart has begun developing its business model to carry more products perceived as upscale. He mentioned the retailer’s recent efforts with fresh produce and its progression into a more comprehensive supermarket as examples of the changing model. Schamisso also said that he’s shocked that his brand’s unsweetened, zero-calorie mint tea has become his top seller in Walmart.

“Walmart has kind of a reputation for being low cost and people that aren’t healthy shop there,” he said. “This kind of turns that on its head.”

Schamisso said that Inko’s has accumulated sales of more than $500,000 in Walmart stores this year. The tea has a suggested retail price of $1.19 for a 16 oz. bottle.

“We like the way we’re treated by Walmart, they’re a very professional organization,” he said. “They treat us with respect, they believe in what we’re doing and we’re psyched to be with them.”

According to a company release, Inko’s can also be found in Safeway, Stop & Shop, Giant Carlisle, Rite Aid, Publix, SuperValu, Dierbergs, Fairway, Martin’s, Foodtown, Tops, Wegmans, Albertsons, Bristol Farms and Sunflower Market. It’s also offered in corporate break rooms through W.B. Mason.