- Unilever is launching a wellness tea line for its signature brand, Lipton, according to a statement. The new teas will incorporate essential oils and herbs, and purport to have a functional quality.
- The Lipton Wellness Tea line will be available by late September, and include five varieties: Stress Less, Detox, Sooth Your Tummy, Bedtime Bliss and Daily Support.
- “We know we’re all looking for ways to take care of ourselves,” said George Hamilton, tea director at Unilever. “Essential oils, supplements and herbs are often part of wellness routines, and now we’ve found a way to incorporate them that’s as simple as brewing a tea bag.”
Lipton’s classic tea, called "America’s Favorite Tea" on the packaging, is synonymous with black tea in the U.S.
Despite its strong hold in the marketplace, Lipton is branching out with a new wellness line of tea. It’s a smart move on the part of Unilever, which owns the brand. The global tea market is steadily growing, and is expected to reach a production volume of 7.2 million tons by 2022. The growth is attributed to factors such as health benefits and the emergence of ready-to-drink teas. Unilever's new wellness tea shows the company is doing even more to tap into those interests.
Consumers are becoming more health-conscious, favoring clean labels and functional foods and beverages. Wellness teas have benefited from these trends, growing more quickly than the overall tea market.
The Yogi brand of wellness teas has been thriving in recent years. The brand's parent company recently invested $18 million in a new 189,000 square foot tea plant in Eugene, Oregon. It also has branched out from natural food stores into major retailers, such as Walmart and Target. It’s no wonder Lipton wants to jump on board this trend.
Lipton’s will likely be marketing to consumers who are interested in clean eating and functional foods and drinks. The company could take a marketing note from another competitor, Traditional Medicinals. In 2014, the wellness tea brand launched a multi-million dollar campaign targeting what they call "active adopters" 25 to 35 years of age, and "healthy believers" between 45 and 55, according to the New York Times. If it finds success with these targeted demographics, there is no reason Lipton can’t as well.
Lipton’s move to branch into wellness teas differs from what legacy coffee companies are doing to spur new interest in their product. Kraft Heinz’s Maxwell House brand recently debuted a caffeine-enhanced variety called Max Boost. Eight O'Clock Coffee expanded its line of infused Arabica coffees with three new coffee blends, with ingredients like trendy acai berries and turmeric. Neither of these products sets up the expectation that it will treat a symptom the consumer has, but Eight O’Clock can at least brag about their healthy new ingredients.
One challenge Lipton may face will be managing consumer’s expectations of its new products. With names like "Stress Less" and "Sooth Your Tummy," will customer’s expect their cup of tea to live up to these names? "Stress Less" lists lavender as an ingredient, which has long been associated with relaxation. Even if it doesn’t, Lipton only needs to point to a discreet box on the label which reads “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease." The front of the box may say "Stress Less," but the back panel reminds consumers that it's not a guarantee.
Either way, Lipton's new products looks poised to benefit from the public's love of tea and growing demand to eat and drink good-for-you products.