Bössi got its start in 2015 and after roughly two years of R&D, the company debuted three rooibos tea products for kids a few weeks ago in the Southern California and Texas markets, where it has signed on with KeHe for distribution and is currently on-boarding with UNFI.
The three flavors, watermelon, strawberry, and mango, are packaged in eight-packs and retail for $5.99 to $6.99 each, depending on the retailer.
All three flavors are caffeine-free, USDA Certified Organic, Kosher Certified, and non-GMO with 35 calories per serving.
Filling a void in kids' tea market
When founders of Bössi, Celia and Paul Venter, moved to the US from South Africa they were surprised to find a lack rooibos tea products - as well as healthy beverage options - for their young kids, given how much iced tea Americans consume.
Approximately 80% of Americans regularly consume tea, totalling around 1.6 billion servings per week, according to a Statista Survey presented at the World Tea Expo. Of that, 75% of the market is iced tea consumed at home.
“If you look at the grocery side of things, from an investment and a business point of view, liquid tea is one of the three biggest dollar value growers for grocery in the past five years and still is, but there aren’t any kids options,” Paul Venter told BeverageDaily.
The Venters were initially concerned that the lack of a market for RTD kids tea would be too large to overcome.
“There was one question that we always had: ‘Why is there white space and why are the big boys not there?’”
“The response that we’re getting at the moment is that everybody ‘gets’ it,” he said. “Especially if you look at the Southern California demographic; there’s a very big upsurge in tea in general.”
Rooibos tea is a commonly consumed beverage that many South Africans drink from a very young age, the Venters explained, so using the tea sourced from the Cederberg mountains of South Africa was a natural choice.
“We want to be a US product and we want rooibos to be good here,” Mr. Venter said. “We wanted to make sure it’s a culturally consumable US brand as well.”
“If you want to have an iced tea for kids, rooibos is the perfect way to do it because it’s caffeine free and it’s still got a ton of antioxidants and polyphenols,” he added.
Adult appeal potential
Looking ahead, the company wants to expand its product range to appeal more to adults with larger packaging and new flavors.
“It is for other people as well,” Mr. Venter said. “We’re in R&D right now to determine exactly what that should be.”