SUBSCRIBE

Breaking News on Food & Beverage Development - North AmericaEU edition | APAC edition

Trends > Expo West

Expo West 2016

Dissolvable Tea Drops brings more consumers to premium tea category by offering convenience

By Elizabeth Crawford

29-Mar-2016
Last updated on 29-Mar-2016 at 14:39 GMT2016-03-29T14:39:16Z

Source: Tea Drops

Source: Tea Drops

The demand for tea in the US is skyrocketing, but so too is the desire for speed and convenience – two terms that do not apply to high quality loose leaf tea, which requires special tools for measuring and steeping, or tea bags, which can create a drippy mess.

But a new line of dissolvable, fun shaped tea from Tea Drops – previously available only online and at events, but now launching in grocery stores – provides a whimsical and healthy solution.

Tea Drops – organic tea, spices and sugar that are pressed into lighthearted shapes, such as a star, flower or heart – allow consumers to enjoy the fragrance, taste and quality of loose leaf tea but without the fuss of preparation, said company founder Sashee Chandran.

She explained that consumers simply add a drop to a cup of hot water and stir to enjoy without worrying about measuring tea or finding a tea bag, steeping or disposing of waste.

Chandran explains that the inspiration for Tea Drops was born out of her own frustration with trying to make loose leaf tea in a corporate office environment where she lacked appropriate tools – a kettle, strainer and way to measure the tea – and time.

“It wasn’t until I joined a more corporate office environment that I realized how difficult it was to make loose leaf tea at work. You needed a kettle, a strainer – a lot of tools and props,” she said.

Even tea bags were difficult at work, she said, noting that if she made tea and went to a meeting she didn’t know where to put the tea bag and her cup often ended up over-brewing and becoming bitter.

“I also noticed with a tea bag on the string it can actually start dripping and create a little puddle at the end [of the string]. I don’t know if you’ve ever experienced that at your desk, but it’s a common frustration,” she said. “So for me, [I thought] if there was a way to just have a very simplified tea experience where everything was all encompassing – the tea, spices and the sugar, that would be ideal for me. So, I really was inspired to make something that I would personally drink and it happened to be something, I think, a lot of people are looking for.”

The end result – dissolvable tea drops – creates a perfectly brewed cup of sweetened tea that has only a small amount of fine sediment, similar to that of coffee made in a French press, and can be made quickly anywhere there is hot water.

Unique packaging for a unique product

Recognizing the tea category is crowded with many options, Chandran further distinguished her Tea Drops by packaging them in a wooden box that added a sense of luxury to the brand.

She explained that she landed on the idea of the wooden box because she wanted packaging that stood out on the shelf, and because it was “modern, but it pays homage to the tea chest in the 17th century that the tea was originally shipped in on boats.”

As Tea Drops transition into the grocery channel, Chandran created a more practical cardboard box in which the tea bags are stacked upright – a concept used by many competitors. But her design still delivers a premium feel with artistic photos of loose leaf tea and spices along the bottom of a white box, which recalls the high-end status of Apple products. A photo of a single pressed tea shape near the top of the box combined with a color-coded ribbon around the middle helps consumers quickly understand what the product is and identify the flavor – Citrus Ginger, Vanilla White Tea, Sweet Peppermint or Rose Earl Grey.

While the packaging may be designed to appeal to a higher end shopper, Chandran says the product is for “anyone who wants to experience loose leaf tea conveniently. So, that tends to be a working professional on-the-go, moms on-the-go, travelers – a whole range of people.”

Growing demand for, awareness of tea creates opportunity

That range is expanding as more Americans seeking naturally healthy, functional beverages discover the variety and benefits of tea, Chandran said.

“Before people were just gravitating towards tea bags or not really caring about the quality of their tea. But now, there’s a lot more education and knowledge around the quality of tea leaves, organic tea and there is this trend towards people wanting to experience that loose leaf ritual, but they’re also contending with having limited time or being on the go,” Chandran said.

She added: “I think there is this movement towards people wanting a premium tea experience, but wanting to experience it very conveniently, and so that is where Tea Drops really fit in – where there is this intersection of premium loose leaf tea with convenience seeking tea drinkers.”

With this in mind, she wants to expand her footprint in the grocery channel and in food service so more diverse consumers can discover and try Tea Drops, she said.

To help the young company better reach these goals, Chandran joined New York-based accelerator AccelFoods’ most recent cohort.

“We’re really excited to join the AccelFoods family and establish a partnership with them. I think that their level of knowledge and expertise in the space, with the number of strategic advisors they have on board and just the number portfolio brands that I can now pull knowledge from is something super exciting for me, and I think that’s really going to help us grow in 2016,” she said.

Related products

Standardized language for expiration dates will help reduce food waste

Standardized language for expiration dates should help reduce food waste, according to GMA

According to the nonprofit Feeding America, 126 billion pounds of food is wasted each...

Vox Pop: In sports nutrition, 'usually just protein'

Vox Pop: 'Protein, and that's pretty much it actually'

Sports nutrition is a booming industry, with Euromonitor estimating a value of $7.4bn in...

Food Starter helps entrepreneurs break into food and beverage industry

Food Starter helps entrepreneurs break into the competitive food and beverage industry

Launching a food business takes more than secret family recipe – it also takes...

Braskem packaging changes color if a product is unfit for consumption

Braskem packaging changes color if a product is unfit for consumption

Marcia Pires

polymer science researcher , Braskem

How to shift perception of GMOs from good vs evil to simply a choice

Could the biotech disclosure law help shift perception of GMOs from good vs evil to simply a choice?

In many ways, the conversation about GMOs has been a debate about good versus...

SmartLabel helps brands meet consumers’ mounting clean label demands

SmartLabel gains traction as a tool for brands to meet consumers’ mounting clean label demands

While SmartLabel is still in its relative infancy, manufacturers are flocking to the technology...

Potential for Nutrition Facts label delay should not slow compliance

The potential of a delay to Nutrition Facts label changes should not slow compliance efforts

Assuming FDA does not delay the deadline for the new Nutrition Fact label as...

Arctic Zero CEO: Clean Label not just low sugar, low calorie, low fat

Arctic Zero’s new social media video campaign shows how ‘clean label’ is more than just ‘free-from’

With the launch of four new varieties, Arctic Zero produced a video to tell...

Manufacturers navigate greenwashing allegations

Manufacturers walk tightrope between demand for natural products and greenwashing allegations

Today’s consumers want products that are natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly, but manufacturers hoping...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Evolving views on breakfast

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Evolving views on breakfast create challenges, opportunities for CPGs

Breakfast has long been known as the most important meal of the day, but...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What snacks are hot and where consumers buy them

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: What snacks are hot and where consumers are buying them is evolving

US consumers are snacking more than ever, according to IRI data, but an analyst...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Confections hold steady in face of war on sugar

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Confections hold steady in face of the war on sugar

Despite significant headwinds generated by the escalating war on sugar and increasing consumer preferences...

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Driving ecommerce with omnichannel marketing

Soup-to-Nuts Podcast: Driving ecommerce sales with an omnichannel marketing approach

Sales of food and beverage online may be lagging significantly behind those of other...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Will Moringa steal kale's top superfood spot?

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Will Moringa knock kale out of the top superfood spot?

For years kale has reigned supreme as the go-to superfood for many Americans thanks...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Fair Trade certification tackles coconut supply

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Could Fair Trade certification help avoid a coconut shortage?

Ever since coconut water burst on to the US market several years ago, Americans...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Emerging class action litigation targets

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Emerging class action litigation targets

The number of class action cases filed against food and beverage companies continues to...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Threats to bees threaten whole food industry

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Industry stakeholders seek to take the sting out of threats to bees’ health

Spring has finally sprung, which means birds are chirping, crops are blooming and bees...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Top marketing strategies for natural products

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: Clean label 2.0 and other top marketing strategies for natural products

When it comes to marketing products in the natural channel it seems like there...

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: The opportunity for medicinal mushrooms

Soup-To-Nuts Podcast: The rising opportunity for mushrooms in food and beverage

Growing awareness of the powerful health benefits of mushrooms as well as increasing demand...

Key Industry Events

 

Access all events listing

Our events, Shows & Conferences...