Competition steep with new tea lines

In the u.s., some 80% of all tea consumed is of the iced variety.North of the border, conversely, 95% of the tea Canadians drink is hot.Canadian iced tea marketers have long seen a potential for huge profits if they could shift...

In the u.s., some 80% of all tea consumed is of the iced variety.

North of the border, conversely, 95% of the tea Canadians drink is hot.

Canadian iced tea marketers have long seen a potential for huge profits if they could shift Canadian consumption patterns to be more in line with those in the u.s.

Last month, both Thomas J. Lipton in partnership with Pepsi-Cola Beverages and Nestle Enterprises in partnership with Coca-Cola rolled out new iced tea lines they hope will bring about that shift.

Lipton and Pepsi, through a joint company formed Nov. 12, 1991, The Pepsi Lipton Tea Partnership, have introduced two new products, Lipton Original, which is brewed from fresh tea leaves, and Lipton Brisk, which is made from processed tea powder.

Coca-Cola and Nestle, through a similar joint venture company formed about the same time, Coca-Cola Nestle Refreshments, have launched a new formulation of Nestle’s existing Nestea brand.

Both partnerships claim to have developed a better-tasting iced tea by taking advantage of recent advances in the food processing field. Lipton Original and the new version of Nestea are both made using a ‘hot-pack’ procedure wherein the tea is packaged while still hot and then flash cooled.

The procedure results in a product that requires fewer stabilizing ingredients to remain fresh on the shelf and is said to taste more like real iced tea.

A number of other iced tea manufacturers, among them Snapple Natural Beverage Company of Valley Stream, n.y. and Everfresh Juice of Malton, Ont., have also introduced hot-pack teas.

But it is Lipton, in partnership with Pepsi, and Nestle, in partnership with Coke, that are expected to drive the market with big-budget marketing and advertising campaigns.

According to A. C. Nielsen, Canadians spent in the area of $200 million on hot and cold tea in 1992.

The Lipton and Nestea brands both began appearing in the u.s. late last year.

On April 19, a new Lipton tv ad, created by J. Walter Thompson in n.y., hit the airwaves in the u.s. with considerable spill into Canada.

Alan Koval, business manager for the Pepsi Lipton Tea Partnership, says that because of the competitive nature of the market, he is not willing to discuss his firm’s marketing plans for Canada.

Bill McEwan, vice-president of market development for Coca-Cola Bottling, which is handling Nestea in Canada, says he has a tv and outdoor campaign in the works that is set to break in early summer.

Creative is by McCann-Erickson Advertising of Toronto.

McEwan says Nestea represents a profitable new direction for Coca Cola, explaining it is possible iced tea sales could grow by as much as $50 million as a result of new marketing activities in the category.