Amid growing consumer demand for organic beverages, Ito En North America today announced a new USDA certified organic formulation and revamped branding for its Teas’ Tea line. Ito En will debut the updated line at the 2017 Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, which begins this Sunday.
Ito En gradually converted the Teas’ Tea line to an organic formulation over the past year, according to COO Jim Hoagland.
“We didn’t want to sacrifice taste at the expense of going organic,” he said. “We spent a lot of time sourcing the organic raw materials so that we could match the taste. It becomes especially important [because] the majority of our products are unsweetened, so the purity of the tea is what really comes out.
The new brand name, Teas’ Tea Organic, extends across the brand’s 16.9 oz. Organic Unsweetened, Organic Slightly Sweet and Organic Caffeine Free options, and will begin shipping to retailers nationwide this month. The brand’s 2 L bottles will also be rebranded as organic later this year.
The packaging was updated to strengthen and simplify communication on the package and to make it easier for consumers to navigate the different flavors of the brand, Hoagland said. Ito En will keep the signature stripes on Teas’ Tea labels; however, the revamp includes a new logo. The design was inspired by traditional Japanese stamps “as a nod to the brand’s standard of excellent quality,” according to the company, and highlights the organic formulation.
“We’ve seen an enormous amount of interest from mainstream supermarkets, convenience stores and foodservice channels [which] are looking for healthier, better-for-you beverages,” Hoagland said. “I think the package redesign is going to make it easier for new consumers to discover the brand, find the brand and understand what it is and what it stands for.”
The update comes on the heels of new placement for Teas’ Tea in the mainstream tea set at Kroger and the company’s Oi Ocha line in the retailer’s Asian foods set. Hoagland said that the company’s extensive portfolio of RTD teas, including its Matcha Love Organic line, enables it to meet the needs of individual retailers within different parts of a store.
“We feel like where the Teas’ Tea brand is positioned in the market, moving to organic was important,” he said. “Our traditional line, which includes the Oi Ocha brand, is more focused on that authenticity, so that product line is not currently organic. It’s an individual decision for each brand.”