Shaka Tea unveils new look, closes second round of financing

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: Dilyuns Michael
Picture: Dilyuns Michael
Honolulu-based Shaka Tea - the first Hawaiian ready-to-drink iced tea, and the first brewed with māmaki, a plant that only grows in the Hawaiian islands – has unveiled a new look, reformulated its wares to reduce sugar, and closed its second round of financing as it prepares for a national roll-out in the continental United States.

Developed by Bella Hughes and her husband Harrison Rice, the naturally caffeine-free tea launched in April 2016 and is now available in around 350 stores across the Hawaiian islands from 7-Eleven to Whole Foods.

Available in four skus – guava gingerblossom, mango hibiscus, pineapple mint and lemon lokelani rose – the brand is now sweetened with monk fruit, rather than apple juice, and has switched from a stubby 16 oz bottle to a more elongated 14oz bottle, Hughes told FoodNavigator-USA.

Consumers are really concerned about sugar, so using monk fruit brings our sugar and calories down significantly. We talked to a lot of consumers, and what we heard was that people generally don’t want more than 5g of sugar. We were never adding cane sugar, but previously we had 5-11g of naturally occurring sugar from organic apple juice and with the rebrand, we’ve got far less ​[two of the SKUs now have 0g sugar, one has 5g and one has 17g]."

The new look for Shaka Tea​– created by McLean Design – ​will debut at the Natural Products Expo West show, said Hughes, who recently appointed Tony Giannini as director of national sales as the brand gears up to announce “national distribution plans, launching in Q2 with one of the top distributors across the continental US.”

Giannini, who joined the team in January, has stints on his resume at Nestle Beverage and Monterey Pasta Co, and has helped build companies like Sweet Earth Natural Foods, Double Rainbow Ice Cream and HempAde Beverage, added Hughes, who closed a second round of financing in February, adding three new investors.

Shaka's investor group now includes three industry players and three high-net-worth individuals, and the company is aligned for a significant capital raise to pursue national and international expansion by the end of the year​," she added.

Shaka Tea is made with brewed māmaki tea with hibiscus, monk fruit concentrate, natural flavors, and fruit purees/juice concentrates.

Visit Shaka Tea at Expo West booth #N238

shaka old and new
Old new (left), new look (right)

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