The ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages industry has witnessed remarkable growth in recent years, with a notable segment being ready-to-drink teas. Offering refreshing flavours along with convenience, ready-to-drink teas have become increasingly popular among consumers seeking on-the-go options that balance health and taste. And the most recent entrant in this industry is none other than the king of the beverages industry: Coca-Cola! The beverage king is launching an iced green tea.
On November 22, 2023, Coca-Cola India announced that it is foraying into the ready-to-drink tea beverages segment with the launch of ‘Honest Tea‘. This brand of ready-to-drink teas is owned by Honest Inc., a subsidiary of the Coca-Cola Company. The beverage giant has partnered with Kolkata-based Luxmi Tea Co Private Ltd’s renowned Makaibari Tea Estate. That is where they plan to source the organic green tea for the product. An MoU was signed between the two companies at the seventh edition of the Bengal Global Business Summit (BGBS).
The New Beverages
These beverages, often available in various flavours and formulations, cater to a diverse range of preferences. They come in sweetened, unsweetened, and herbal varieties. The idea behind the launch was to provide consumers with wider beverage options, a senior official of Coca-Cola said. Crafted from organic green tea sourced from Makaibari estate, the ready-to-drink iced green tea is available in two flavours: Lemon-Tulsi and Mango.
Karthik Subramanian, director of marketing- hydration, coffee and tea category, Coca-Cola India and Southwest Asia, commented, “We are thrilled to introduce our new ready-to-drink iced green tea. With Honest Tea, we are offering consumers a unique experience of a great tasting green tea-based beverage. Whether on the go or simply seeking a moment of tranquillity, ‘Honest Tea’ is the perfect companion offering refreshment and goodness.”
Situated on the steep slopes at the Himalayas’ foothills, Makaibari is the oldest Organic Darjeeling Tea plantation. Makaibari’s tea is meticulously handpicked in a biodynamic agricultural environment and is famed for its rare moonlight-plucked tea.
Rudra Chatterjee, managing director, Luxmi Group, hailed Makaibari as the greatest tea estate in Darjeeling during the BGBS event. “It is the last word among teas, whether in Japan or England, royal houses. It is also the choice of tea Satyajit Ray decided for his fictional detective character Feluda,” he added.
What was originally a US-founded brand, the organic bottled green tea company, Honest Inc., was acquired by Coca-Cola in 2011. To add to this, the goodwill of Makaibari Tea Estate in Darjeeling extends to royal tea houses in countries like Japan and England. The larger intent of this alliance is also to bring the Darjeeling tea industry into the spotlight, as demand for the tea products has dropped considerably.
The Honest tea drink also hopes to give the younger target consumers a healthy beverage option to choose from the ones that are currently available in the market. The current plan is to make the iced green tea available in southern and western states, with an eventual plan to make it available nationwide – while also coinciding with the summer of 2024.
Honest Tea can be purchased exclusively on eCommerce in Bangalore, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Chennai, and Pune and will be available at Rs 50. The 350 ml bottled beverage was launched at the Bengal Global Business Summit with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in attendance. The Director of Luxmi Tea, who owns the 87 gardens of Makaibari Tea Estate which produces 6.5 million kilos of tea annually and is protected by the GI tag, was present there too.
The market’s surge is fueled by the desire for convenience and healthier beverage alternatives, making ready-to-drink teas a dynamic and evolving sector within the broader RTD beverages industry. Made from Organic Green Tea grown in harmony with nature, Honest Tea tastes delicious and is made with the best quality tea leaves. It is meant for modern women and men who wish to live a balanced lifestyle. The newly launched beverage provides a ‘Moment of Good’ with every sip of iced green tea.