The development of aloe drinks seems to be holding steady in the United States. According to Mintel’s Global New Products Database, 28 new beverages containing aloe were released in the United States in 2011, compared with 21 releases in 2012. Although still emerging in the mainstream market, aloe drink brand owners are searching for ways to help their products stand out to curious consumers.
● The challenge: First introduced in 2011 as Chantea, Gourmetti Brands, Aventura, Fla., developed a hybrid green tea and aloe drink that was packaged in a 12-ounce, uniquely shaped bottle and sourced its ingredients from an international manufacturer. As more aloe drink products were introduced into the U.S. marketplace, the company found that its pricing and package size were out of sync with the rest of the market, says James S. Tonkin of Healthy Brand Builders, a strategic adviser for Gourmetti Brands.
The other challenge Gourmetti Brands encountered was consumers having a hard time understanding what Chantea meant, Tonkin says. In Latin America, the company offers a similar brand called Chaitea, which was renamed Chantea in the United States.
“We did it thinking that, because of the loose definition of chan and the kind of nice sing-song sound of the name itself, Chantea, that consumers would kind of pick up on this,” Tonkin explains. “What we found was they were more confused about the brand than we had anticipated.”
● The solution: Wanting a name that reflects the hybrid drink’s main ingredients, Tonkin recalled a former client that had used the name Tea Aloe for a product that has no affiliation with Gourmetti Brands. After Tonkin mentioned the product name to founding partners Gofredy Salazar and Diana Cruz, Salazar searched the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office records and found that the name was now available. Recognizing the branding opportunity, Gourmetti Brands purchased the rights for the new name of its green tea and aloe drink product, TEAloe.
“It’s like having the opportunity of a lifetime having a brand name that perfectly describes our product become available,” Tonkin says.
But having the perfect brand name is not the only improvement Gourmetti Brands has made to the ready-to-drink (RTD) product. In early 2013, the company transitioned its production from Asia to the United States and enhanced the formula.
“We [found] that consumers are very sensitive to organic ingredients, and we wanted to be able to offer that as well,” Cruz says. “Our consumers are very healthy, knowledgeable consumers, and we thought that was a great opportunity to enhance our formulation as well.”
TEAloe’s four varieties — Original, Mint, Passion Fruit and Peach — feature organic Fair Trade green tea and organic aloe vera. Salazar notes that the flavors selected for the brand were designed to the hit the palates in different ways but still be relatively simple for consumers to understand.
“Because the combination of green tea and aloe is already a stretch for some consumers, we didn’t want to stretch it even more by adding exotic ingredients that they have never heard about,” he says.
With a new name and formula, Gourmetti Brands turned to the Fresh Branding Group, New York, for its insight to help design TEAloe’s new 16-ounce bottle.
“[The Fresh Branding Group] did a great job in terms of describing exactly our brand and understanding the feelings — the modern, contemporary feeling — in terms of the packaging,” Cruz explains. “They translated that into this very exciting packaging with the background of the TEAloe very clear.”
Cruz adds that the company wanted the brand to feature light-colored packaging to help differentiate it from the tea segment.
With all of these improvements in place, Gourmetti Brands was ready to introduce TEAloe to the same health-, wellness- and fitness-oriented consumers it appealed to with the former Chantea brand.
“Our position isn’t dramatically different … the TEAloe name certainly helps the consumer more easily, readily understand what the brand’s going to provide — tea and aloe combined — so other than that change, we’re really headed after the same consumer,” says Mark Maggio, director of sales for TEAloe.
Maggio notes that current distributors, such as UNFI East and West, Nature’s Best and KeHE Distributors, will carry TEAloe right away. The hybrid RTD brand also has confirmed Whole Foods Market’s Florida region, is approved in 200 Safeway stores on the West Coast, and is finalizing New York direct store distribution, the company says. Its current customers — Albertsons and Kings NY — also will switch to the TEAloe brand, it adds.
With the reinvention of this green tea and aloe drink, Tonkin expects big things ahead for the TEAloe brand. “As I look on to the 2013 prognostication relative to new products that are hitting the market, I think TEAloe is posting to be one of the most exciting new entries in the market,” he says.