Rolling out online and in select retailers this summer, Teecino’s new Mushroom Adaptogen and Prebiotic Superboost lines are “packed with optimal wellness due to the blending of nutrient-rich herbs that are known to nourish, protect and revitalize the mind, body and gut,” to support healthy digestion, elimination and the immune system, said company founder and CEO Caroline MacDougall.
While the creation of both blends began well before the COVID-19 outbreak pushed Americans simultaneously to seek products that were comforting and healthy, MacDougall says her herbal teas check both boxes by offering a roasted beverage that is bold enough it can “stand up” to milk, cream or other indulgent whiteners like coffee, but also smooth enough to be enjoyed alone without the acidity that can come with coffee.
Beyond offering comforting flavors and drinking experience, MacDougall said each tea bag offers three times more herbs than a standard bag so that consumers can feel confident they are getting a full and effective dose of the adaptogens and prebiotics featured in the new blends.
For example, she explained, “our Mushroom Adaptogen line includes six blends so that each one offers a significant amount of the mushroom and adaptogenic herb, instead of trying to include all of them together in one tea and only getting a microdose of each key ingredient.”
This strategy also allowed each blend to have a different flavor profile, “some which are more like tea and one that is more like coffee, so we can really hit the palate of everyone’s preferences across the board,” she added.
The flavors include Lion’s Mane Rhodiola Rose, Tremella Tulsi Cardamom, Cordyceps Schisandra Cinnamon Berry, Chaga Ashwagandha Butterscotch Cream, Turkey Tail Astragalus Toasted Maple and Reishi Eleuthero French Roast.
The brand’s new Prebiotic Superboost blends similarly include high concentrations of plant-based prebiotics to ensure that each cup can deliver on the emerging science supporting the gut-health and microbiome benefits of prebiotics, MacDougall said.
“Teeccino has always been prebiotic because it has chicory in it and inulin is the prebiotic that is naturally extracted from chicory when brewed right into your cup,” MacDougall said.
But, she added, the Prebiotic Superboost line also includes two vegan prebiotics for added benefits, including galacto-oligosaccharide (GOS) and xylo-oligosaccahride (XOS).
“GOS is naturally found in mothers’ milk and is one of the first prebiotics fed our intestines for digestion as infants. Typically it is extracted from lactose, but I was able to find a vegan GOS that is made from sugars not derived from milk products,” which is important because many Teecino drinkers value plant-based, MacDougall said.
“The other plant-based prebiotic that I chose – a vegan XOS – also has terrific science showing the concentration from the plant fibers can really boost the prebiotic effects in Teeccino” and support a well-diversified microbiome, MacDougall added.
“One of the points that I make about prebiotics is that of the over 1,000 species of probiotics should be living in our intestinal track, if we have well diversified microbiome, but you can only take a supplement for about 10% of them. The other 90% cannot be put in a supplement because they are anerobic … but you can nourish them with prebiotics. So, that is why I feel it is really important to take a plant-based prebiotic and a complex of them so you can really hit the entire spectrum of the probiotics in your digestive track,” she explained.
A new look to accompany the new lines
While adaptogens, prebiotics and probiotics are gaining consumer interest, many shoppers still do not fully understand their benefits – placing a burden on brands, like Teeccino, to educate consumers.
Boasting that “education is sort of my thing and I love to do it,” MacDougall said Teeccino starts educating consumers first with its package, which was redesigned with the launch of the new lines.
“The last time we redid the packaging was in 2007 – so a long time ago – and I knew that as we pushed from three families of blends to five, with the addition of the Prebiotic Superboost and Mushroom Adaptogen blends, we would need a cohesive look to pull everything together,” she said.
She also noted that how people absorb information has changed drastically since 2007, and she wanted the new design to better reflect the needs of the modern consumer so that they could more easily understand the products’ benefits.
“These days we find people need simpler messaging. And our old packages were very busy – not just because of the artwork, but because of all the communication I tried to put on them, being an educator at heart. So, we really tried to refine what would be on the new packaging and just bring it out more simply and clearly, knowing that people have less and less time now to pay attention in a certain way than they did when I first did my packaging back in the ‘90s or even in 2007,” she said.
With that in mind, the brand now uses colors to demark the different blends and straightforward, descriptive names like “dark chocolate from Rishi,” she said.
At the same time, MacDougall said she couldn’t fully let go of the artistic look of the previous packaging so the new bags each feature a half mandala at the top that is representative of its blend family.
“So, the pattern on the blend with dandelion roots looks like dandelion seeds as they are ready to take off. Whereas the Mayan blend has more a Mayan design from Guatemala and the Mediterranean blend has a Moorish Mediterranean look and for the mushrooms we chose the Rishi mushroom for design and with the prebiotics we made a lot of little squiggles to look like a beautiful design of what might be going on our microbiome in our intestines,” she said.
Launching during COVID-19
Like many brands planning to unveil new products at Natural Products Expo West before the pandemic caused the show to be cancelled, Teeccino has had to pivot to launch during the outbreak.
While some brands have decided to hold off on new introductions, MacDougall said she recognized consumers’ need for immunity boosting products and she didn’t want to wait for retailers to restart reviews that were paused at the start of the outbreak. So, she soft launched the new products on her company’s ecommerce site and will be rolling them out on Amazon July 1.
She added that she is grateful that Teeccino is an established brand with positive buyer connections so that she was still able to share news of the launch and line up distribution in select retailers.