IGZU is a ready-to-drink bamboo leaf tea, infused with aloe vera. The beverage was built around a mission to create a drink from the most sustainable ingredients on the planet.
The US start-up says its bamboo leaf tea reaches out to a growing group of health conscious millennials, who seek products that have a positive impact on both themselves and the planet.
With a health halo behind the ingredients, the beverage is also a ‘fusion of the RTD tea and functional beverage markets.’
‘Refreshing and crisp’
Founders Zachary Anderson and Courtney McCoy both come from backgrounds in the organic F& B space, and plan to start full-scaled production in November.
IGZU will initially focus on sales in the natural and organic food market – ‘a perfect platform to connect with our mission focused consumer’ – then reach out further.
Anderson and McCoy told BeverageDaily their bamboo leaf tea tastes similar to light green tea. “The most common response to IGZU in consumer taste tests has been ‘refreshing and crisp’,” they said.
“The consumer also loves that we have just the right amount sweetness - using only 10 g of organic cane sugar, and coming in at 40 calories for a 16 oz bottle.
"Since we use traditional steeping methods for our bamboo leaf tea and botanicals, IGZU has a very clean finish to its taste profile as well.
“From conception we had a very defined scope of what we wanted to create. We wanted to create a line of organic RTD teas with innovative taste profiles, ones that showcase unique botanicals.
"In today's RTD tea market, the majority of brands showcase the fruit side of flavoring - we wanted to flip the script on that norm.”
The bamboo leaf tea is infused with aloe vera.
“Bamboo leaf tea can be enjoyed by itself quite easily,” said Anderson and McCoy. “[But] we saw an opportunity to merge the functional and RTD beverage markets.
"Inner-leaf aloe vera was an ingredient that we ourselves were already consuming and had experienced first-hand the benefits of doing so - with the creation of IGZU, we wanted to share our experiences of both of these ingredients with the world.”
Bamboo has been consumed for centuries in countries such as China and India. Both have been positioned as super foods with health benefits.
IGZU has three flavors: Elderflower Citrus, Lavender Peach and Hibiscus Blackberry. It is currently running a Kickstarter campaign ahead of starting production next month.
A key positioning for bamboo beverages are the sustainability credentials. IGZU cites bamboo and aloe vera as some of the most sustainable ingredients. Bamboo, for example, is resilient and easy to grow. While other applications use the hardy stalk, IGZU uses the leaves which may otherwise be wasted.
It was these sustainable properties that interested the founders in the first place.
“We set out to create a bottled beverage from arguably some of the most sustainable crops on the planet - this mission fueled our explorations, which ultimately brought us to bamboo leaf tea and inner-leaf aloe vera,” explained the duo.
“The sustainability of bamboo is what first got us interested, but once we really began using and drinking it ourselves, we knew we had something really unique to build upon.”
The company will also give 1% of sales back to sustainability efforts.
“It excites us to see our generation really own the mind-set of global citizenship” continued Anderson and McCoy. “Many take into account the impact that we all have and the change that we can author for a more sustainable future.
“We look to speak directly to a consumer that aligns with our core mission. This has evolved into a health conscious subset of the millennial generation, one that looks for products that have a positive impact on themselves and also the planet.”
Next big thing?
Could bamboo-based beverages be the next big thing – reaching the heights of coconut water and plant waters?
“Of course!” said Anderson and McCoy. “Coconut water has been a forerunner in the concept of natural functional beverages, but ingredients such as bamboo and aloe are perfectly positioned to do the same.
“Again, as consumers become more and more conscious of the ingredients in the products they are consuming and the overall impact they have, we see only growth and development with sustainable ingredients overall.”