What tea professionals need to start the week of July 21, 2014 —
Five innovative tea products of note from the Specialty Food Association’s Summer Fancy Food Show….Green Rooibos from Khosian Tea… a bundle of leaves 3D bottle for Tejava.
Tea Innovation at the Summer Fancy Food Show
Tea is one of the most important product categories in specialty retail. As a result specialty grocery and gift outlets carry a broad assortment and encourage innovation to keep customer interest high.
The most important showcase for these new items is the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City. The event is hosted by the Specialty Food Association which also puts on a great winter show in San Francisco.
This year’s event was the largest since the trade-only event made its debut in 1955. The exhibit halls were filled with the latest chocolates, cheeses, charcuterie and snack foods from 2,730 specialty food companies representing 49 countries.
The Specialty Food Association’s team of trendspotters* listed matcha as a trend to watch: “This age-old finely milled green tea is experiencing a resurgence, with leading tea companies introducing new versions.”
In the highly-regarded sofi™ Awards (sofi stands for specialty outstanding food innovation) competition Judges named Teapigs winner in the Hot Beverage category for a tisane combining “the natural root of the licorice plant (not the black, sticky stuff) with pure peppermint leaves creates a drink that is naturally sweet and refreshing. In addition to its great taste, Chinese medicine has used licorice for its detoxifying properties. Try it iced in the summer and warm in the winter.” A box of 15 tea bags retails for $9.99. Learn more at: teapigs.com
Finalists in the hot beverage category include the Wah Fong Tea Company for its “Camellia Treasures” Sweet Memories Floral Tea Blend, described as having a “sweet fragrance and complex flavors that soothe and comfort from within. This blend comes in various packing sizes and has become a popular choice for international hotels, fine restaurants, lounges, and spas.” Ten pyramid teabags retail for $4.99. Learn more at: wahfong.com
A green tea based health beverage was among the finalists in the Cold Beverage Category. Drink Jin+Ja from Canada Enterprises “combines fresh ginger, cayenne, and green tea for an elixir with distinctive taste and powerful health benefits. It can be enjoyed over ice for an invigorating drink or mixed with vodka for a “better for you” cocktail.” A 6.3 ounce bottle retails for $2.99. Learn more at: drinkjinja.com
Joia All Natural Soda took the top prize in the Cold Beverage Category with “an all-natural lightly carbonated beverage that combines the fresh flavors of orange, jasmine, and nutmeg in an intensely refreshing beverage. It is less sweet than traditional sodas with 60 calories per bottle. Also works as a mixer for great-tasting cocktails. Five other varieties are available.” The soda retails for $1.69 for a 12-oz. bottle. Learn more at: joialife.com
Sencha Naturals was a finalist for a sofi™ in the Outstanding Diet or Lifestyle Product category, presenting “a naturally effervescent drink mix is made with organic Sencha and Macha green tea powders and an herbal blend of organic orange peel, ginger, and turmeric. Whole-leaf antioxidants and coconut water electrolytes lend immune-system support. It is vegan and sugar-, gluten-, and GMO-free.” A 5-gram packet retails for $0.99. Learn more at: senchanaturals.com
“The Specialty Food Association seeks to be ahead of the trends,” says Ann Daw, president of the Association, the Summer Fancy Food Show’s owner and producer. “Our show celebrates what’s next in specialty food.”
A national panel of specialty food professionals convened over eight days to taste and evaluate all entries and select 125 sofi™ finalists. To determine the winners, 275 buyers at the Summer Fancy Food Show sampled the finalist products and cast votes for their favorite in each category. The results were tabulated by an outside accounting firm.
This year’s contest was the largest in its 42-year history, with specialty food makers submitting 2,737 products across all 32 awards categories.
*Footnote: The Specialty Food Association trendspotters are Faith Durand, Executive Editor,TheKitchn; Nancy Hopkins, Senior Deputy Editor, Food and Entertainment, Better Homes & Gardens, Ariel Knutson, Assistant Editor, TheKitchn; Greg Morago, Food Editor, Houston Chronicle; Kara Nielsen, Culinary Director, Sterling-Rice Group; Charles Passy, reporter,MarketWatch/Wall Street Journal; Denise Purcell, Editor, Specialty Food Media, David Sax, food journalist, author of The Tastemakers, and Tina Ujlaki, Executive Editor, Food & Wine.
Khoisan Tea Green Rooibos
South African Rooibos specialists Khoisan Tea is stepping up production of its green Rooibos to meet growing demand for the antioxidant-rich botanical.
“We’ve built a state-of-the art factory on our farm in late 2013 to produce solely Green Rooibos to perfection,” said Khoisan owner and CEO Peter Schülke. “Our new specialized machines produce excellent teabag cut & long cut grades and we will exceed last year’s production by more than 100%.”
Khoisan Tea has its own Rooibos farm and factory in the mountainous region 250 km north of Cape Town. Annual production capacity is 4,000 tons Rooibos. The company has produced Rooibos since 1997.
Khoisan has perfected a new drying method allowing very low moisture levels, approximately 4%. “This means the Green Rooibos will stay green and maintain its distinct taste as fermentation cannot occur at all, even after longer storage periods. Mechanical quality control ensures consistency in grades and taste over time,” said Schülke.
He explained that keeping Rooibos Tea ‘green’ or unfermented dates to 1999 after European media highlighted the many health benefits of green tea from the Camelia sinesis plant.
Unfermented black tea, obviously now well-known globally as ‘Green Tea,’ began to fascinate the world due to its health benefits and history, he said. “Why not make this work for Rooibos Tea,” asked Schülke.
Today, after many trials by various producers, Green Rooibos is growing in popularity and demand, he said. The difference between Red (fermented) Rooibos Tea and Green (unfermented) Rooibos Tea is the production method after harvest. While both variants are planted and grown the same way, they are produced differently from the moment they are harvested, he said.
Green Rooibos is dried immediately after harvesting to prevent any fermentation. This is labor intensive as the plants need to be carefully cut and handled in loose, airy bundles and dried without any water being added to prevent bruising which could set off fermentation. Khoisan’s equipment uses extremely gentle cutting procedures, he said. Proper and immediate drying methods, help keep it green, said Schülke.
Learn more at: http://www.khoisantea.com
Bundle of Leaves Bottle
NAPA, Calif. – Professional tea buyers will often grab a handful of leaves and raise it to their nose during the withering process to better evaluate leaf texture and smell.
Thanks to a clever bottle design you can experience the same.
The resulting 3D shape quite accurately replicates the life-size bundle and the award-winning Tejava within saves you the time and trouble of processing.
There is an interesting story behind the one-of-a-kind bottle which challenged Australian-based plastics manufacturer Amcor to go beyond its traditional CAD capabilities, combining elements of seven software systems adapted from the gaming, animation, movie, and automotive industries.
While the focus was on maximizing the Tejava design, it also had to ensure the bottle met important performance requirements. Amcor’s advanced engineering team performed Finite Element Analysis (FEA) modelling to predict the container’s performance behavior. Its “PowerFlex” technology features a patented panel-less design, said to provide the freedom to create various designs along the walls. The result is a life-like leaf motif giving tea drinkers the illusion of holding a bundle of tea leaves.
Extensive detail went into the tea leaf design which provides an organic flow and a unique textural experience for the consumer, according to an Amcor release.
“The Tejava bottle highlights Amcor’s drive to push the boundaries of PET and typical package constraints by utilizing cutting edge technology with top talent to deliver commercially innovative packages to the market,” said Christopher Howe, Amcor’s project engineer.
Retailers are finding that packaging innovations are more critical as the RTD segment continues its fast-paced growth amid heightened competition.
This week’s edition was unexpectedly but delightfully delayed by my good fortune in landing two large pickerel at the family’s 80-year-old cottage near Kenora, Ontario. The 3.5 lb. and 4.5 lb fish were taken off Wright’s Point along McCallum Point Road at Clearwater Bay, Lake of the Woods. I’m vacationing until Aug. 10. Katrina Munichiello will post Tea Biz in my absence.
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