Review: Waku Herbal Infusions
Covers Products: Original, Unsweetened
Waku Herbal Infusions are a line of herbal teas that were created using 20 different “super herbs” from the Andes Mountains of Ecuador. The product, which comes in both a sweetened Original variety and an Unsweetened variety, was specifically formulated to help soothe the digestive system.
From a taste perspective, Waku is quite good. Both varieties are mellow and smooth with notes of aromatic herbs, including basil, mint, lemon verbena. In the case of the Unsweetened SKU, there’s a slightly acidic note to the finish, but it’s on par with other unsweetened bottled teas. Original, which is sweetened with sugar and stevia, is our preferred flavor of the two, with 35 calories and 9g of sugar, it nevertheless tastes like a tea with full sweetness. Plus, they’ve done a really nice job of masking the stevia.
While we like both of the flavors, we’re not quite sure that Original and Unsweetened is the right SKU strategy for Waku. Giving the consumer a familiar flavor, such as lemon, might help make the product feel more appealing and inviting. Our best guess is that using a sweetened formulation (and perhaps dropping the stevia) as the base would be the most marketable approach.
There’s also some work to be done on the packaging. The product, which comes in a 10.14 oz. tapered glass bottle, has a busy-looking label that definitely requires you to stop and read to figure it out. There’s also one critical word that’s missing: tea. Also, the size is too squat and small, which puts it at a competitive disadvantage against other products in the tea set (almost all of which are around 16 oz. or more).
What we’d like to see here is something that’s simple and clean looking with “herbal tea” as the focus. A smaller label would leave more of the liquid showing and we’d suggest having the mountain design better integrated into the label. And we do think that they need to go to a larger size to stay competitive.
Overall, Waku is a nice early-stage effort that definitely has a nice foundation when it comes to the formula and flavor. Next, the brand needs to take steps to flesh out its design and full lineup.