Leftovers: Arizona Beverages puts a stake in ground coffee; Honest Tea warms up to yerba mate

Leftovers is our look at a few of the product ideas popping up everywhere. Some are intriguing, some sound amazing and some are the kinds of ideas we would never dream of. We can’t write about everything that we get pitched, so here are some leftovers pulled from our inboxes.

Arizona Beverages brews up a ground coffee line

While Arizona Beverages is best known for its line of ready-to-drink iced teas, the company is expanding into a completely new segment with its Sun Brew line of 100% arabica ground coffee. 

The coffee beans are sourced from Central and South America and come in three blends: Snake Bite, a medium roast with beans from Colombia; Cactus, a medium-dark roast made with beans from Guatemala and Honduras; and Sedona, a blend of beans from Colombia, Brazil and Peru, according to a press release emailed to Food Dive. The beans come in 2.5- and 12-ounce bags and 12-count pod packs, all priced at $7.99, and are sold online at AriZona’s website and Amazon, and select grocery stores.

“Our company mission has always been to evolve with the demands of our consumers,” said Wesley VultaggioCCO of Arizona Beverages. “Sun Brew Coffee allows them to enjoy small-batch roasted coffee at home without café pricing.”

Coffee became one of consumers’ top items to stockpile during the pandemic, sending prices soaring and futures skyrocketing more than 15%, CNBC reported. Americans are also drinking more coffee, with 85% of coffee drinkers having at least one cup at home, up 8 percentage points from January 2020, according to the National Coffee Association‘s Spring 2021 National Coffee Data Trends survey. 

The increase in coffee consumption will likely have post-pandemic staying power. According to a survey commissioned by Nestlé, 48% of consumers said they would continue to brew at least one cup of coffee at home before starting their morning commute, including 62% of millennials.

Arizona is taking a value priced approach to coffee, which could help differentiate its offer in a crowded field with several legacy players. There’s Nestlé, which owns the rights to sell Starbucks’ retail products including Starbucks, Starbucks VIA, Teavana, Seattle’s Best Coffee and Starbucks Reserve. And JAB Holdings has K-cup maker Keurig, Caribou Coffee and Peet’s.

But Arizona appears unphased by entering tough markets. Last year, it partnered with with Heineken to launch Arizona Sunrise Hard Seltzer, and entered a market where players like Molson Coors, Constellation Brands and AB InBev are already staking out territory. And in 2019, it partnered with cannabis company Dixie Brands to create a line of THC-infused products. As part of the deal, AriZona claimed a $10 million stake in the company, signaling its long-term bet on the food and beverage cannabis space.

Arizona is a legacy brand in its own right. Its RTD iced tea products are considered a cult classic in some circles. This reputation as a nostalgic, tried-and-true brand may help Arizona differentiate its products on crowded supermarket shelves as it tries to find footing in the ground coffee segment.

— Lauren Manning

 

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Courtesy of honest tea, yerba mate

 

Honest Tea hopes consumers warm up to its new mate

For years, Honest Tea was best known for its organic bottled teas before it expanded into lemonade and organic kids’ juice drinks. 

The brand’s newest launch is organic Honest Yerba Mate, available in three flavor varieties: Strawberry Pomegranate Matcha, Peach Mango Green Tea and Lemon Ginger Black Tea. Each 16-ounce can has 13 grams of sugar, 60 calories and about the same amount of caffeine as an 8-ounce cup of coffee.

Yerba mate is a traditional caffeinated South American drink, brewed from the leaves and stems of the yerba mate plant.

“With its unique flavor pairings, Honest Yerba Mate meets our consumer at the intersection of coffee and tea,”  said Alexis Green, senior brand manager of Honest Tea.

Coca-Cola added Honest Tea to its portfolio by purchasing a 40% stake in 2008 for $43 million before exercising an option three years later to purchase the rest of the company for an undisclosed amount. Coca-Cola has estimated Honest Tea will join the ranks of its billion-dollar brands in the U.S. by 2025 — and likely sooner if global revenue is factored in. 

Food and beverage companies like Coca-Cola are increasingly focused on functional ingredients and unique flavors in demand with consumers — and yerba mate fits squarely in that sweet spot. 

Yerba mate reportedly has the strength of coffee, the health benefits of tea and the euphoria of chocolate — and it contains antioxidants and other nutrients that may have positive effects on the immune system, mental focus and energy levels. 

Smaller companies like Clean Cause, a maker of organic sparkling yerba mate beverages, have succeeded in using the ingredient. The backing of a popular beverage like Honest Tea undoubtedly would help build momentum for the ingredient while giving shoppers who enjoy the better-for-you brand another reason to consume it.

— Christopher Doering

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Courtesy of MadeGood

 

MadeGood launches a cracker that is out of this world

For consumers looking for allergy-friendly snacks, MadeGood’s new offering is likely to make them see stars.

The snack maker, best known for allergen-free granola, cookies and cereal, is entering the savory category with its new Star Puffed Crackers. These are a six-pointed take on the oyster cracker that are gluten-free, organic, vegan and Non-GMO Project verified. They’re available in three flavors: Sea Salt, Cheddar and Pizza.

Demand for allergen-free products has been increasing through the years as the numbers of people with food allergies and intolerances — and those who are buying food for them — climb. One in four Americans, or about 85 million people, is affected by food allergies, according to a study last year shared by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE). These consumers spend $19 billion per year to buy products that don’t contain allergens for themselves, family members, friends and others. The research showed that the annual growth rate for this segment of the food industry is 27%.

But allergy-friendly food is not just made for people who may have reactions to ingredients — including dairy, egg, soy, peanut, tree nut, gluten, shellfish, fish or sesame. Consumers interested in healthier eating also often pick up these products. Analysts say this drive may be in response to reports that an ingredient like gluten is unhealthy. It may also be the desire for a clean-label snack, and allergy-friendly products tend to be very straightforward in their labeling because their core consumers are trained to scrutinize labels. 

Regardless of who’s buying the crackers, MadeGood touts them as healthier than most snacks in the space. It said the crackers are also a good source of vitamins A, C, D, E and B6, as well as thiamine.

MadeGood is known for its “hidden vegetables” — healthy ingredients that aren’t necessarily apparent in the finished product. Star Puffed Crackers have spinach, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, beets and shiitake mushrooms in their mix, some of which may provide flavors that would be a welcome addition to the finished product. The new crackers may just be giving MadeGood’s trademark vegetables their chance to shine.

— Megan Poinski

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