Hain Celestial launched its line of 2.5-oz. kombucha shots last August following success with a line of 16-oz. ready-to-drink kombucha beverages. They had a different positioning than the new shots; they were aimed at a more informed consumer base and were sold out of the refrigerator case, as kombucha needs to be kept cold because of its active cultures. The green line line is aimed at mass market, grocery store distribution.
“Our kombucha shots have been designed to go into natural channel,” Jennifer Stolte, senior director of marketing at Celestial Seasonings told NutraIngredients-USA. “The Enerji Green Tea shots really allow us to move a little bit more into the mainstream for consumers who are not familiar with kombucha.”
Stolte said that using green tea as a base to provide the caffeine offers a one-two punch: it positions the brand as a ‘natural’ offering, with all of the caffeine in the products coming from green tea and green tea extract. And captures the positive associations consumers have with green tea as an ingredient.
“We feel there is a bigger opportunity out there for people looking for a natural alternative in the shots category,” she said.
The new shots' suite of natural ingredients is meant to appeal to consumers who may have concerns about the formulations of the category-leading energy shot products, Stolte said.
“We think there is a huge opportunity out there to bring incremental consumers into the category. We think there are a lot of people out there who may not be trying energy shots because of the concern over ingredients,” she said.
The shots are featured in three flavors: Citrus, Berry and Pomegranate Xtreme (with more caffeine and B-vitamins than regular ENERJI shots). The caffeine amounts range from 100 mg for the first two, to 150 mg for the pomegranate flavor. All of the shots have the caffeine dosages marked on the labels.
“We want people to know how much caffeine they are getting,” Stolte said.
The opportunity in the shot category continues to grow. According to data provided to Hain Celestial by research firm Mintel, The energy shot segment is expected to grow 116 percent in sales between 2011 and 2016, and the Celestial said it expects that the increased popularity of natural shot alternatives will help drive that segment growth.
New generation of consumers
But addition in growth in the category, Celestial is looking to attract a new generation of consumers to the brand. As some market researchers have found, the preferred delivery forms for products tends to vary with the age of the consumer.
“The latest information we’ve gotten from Mintel shows that energy drinks go toward a younger group, maybe that 18-35 age group,” Stolte said.
“The energy shots really have a much broader appeal across all age categories, from younger demographics an older demographic. It’s a very nice fit for us because it can really skew older so that it’s a great opportunity with the Celestial brand name on it.”
Celestial Seasonings has a 40-year-plus brand history and has built up a lot of trust with consumers, Stolte said. But that can be a two-edged sword, as many Celestial’s core consumers have been with the brand for a long time.
“We do reach across all age categories; we do skew a little bit higher in that 45-plus age range,” Stolte said. The shot line “really does help rejuvenate the Celestial Seasonings brand and does allow us to skew a little bit younger.”