Aug 19, 2008|
Starbucks, Pepsi and Unilever Partner to Grow the Tazo® Tea Ready-to-Drink Business
Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX), PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP) and Unilever (NYSE: UN, UL) today announced a licensing agreement for the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of Starbucks super-premium Tazo® Tea ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages ? including iced teas, juiced teas and herbal infusions ? in the U.S. and Canada. The agreement leverages each company's world-class capabilities with the aim of igniting further growth in the RTD tea category.
Tazo's RTD line will be integrated into the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership (PLP), expanding the joint venture between PepsiCo and Unilever. Established in 1991, the PLP is the leading distributor of RTD tea products in the U.S.
"By joining forces with the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership, we're tapping into a long history of innovation and expertise in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of refreshment beverages," said Gerry Lopez, president, Global Consumer Products, Foodservice & Seattle's Best Coffee. "This move puts us in a prime position to take our successful Tazo bottled tea business to an even higher level."
Starbucks relationship with PepsiCo dates back to 1994, when the two companies formed the North American Coffee Partnership (NACP), a joint venture that helped build the RTD coffee category in the U.S. through the development and distribution of Starbucks bottled Frappuccino®, Doubleshot® espresso, Doubleshot Energy + Coffee and other beverages.
"Unilever and Starbucks have both been great partners of PepsiCo for over a decade, so culturally it's a great fit," said Mary Barnard, GM/VP, Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership. "By engaging the passionate base of Tazo consumers already established by Starbucks, leveraging the strength of the Pepsi bottling system and employing the beverage expertise of the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership, we'll be able to share Tazo RTD products with a larger audience than ever before."
"As the leading marketer of tea beverages in the world, we're always looking for opportunities to bring our global expertise to more tea lovers," said James Wong, Vice President, Business Development, Unilever Americas. "We're really excited about this opportunity to expand the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership and enter into this agreement with Starbucks, whose brands and mission we genuinely admire."
Tazo has created more than 100 unique tea, fruit and herbal beverages in bottled, filterbag, full leaf and tea latte concentrate varieties. All Tazo tea blending is done on-site at Tazo headquarters in Portland, Ore. to ensure quality and flavor consistency. Samples from the world's finest tea gardens arrive daily, and after thorough testing, only 10 percent of the teas tasted find their way into Tazo blends. Acquired by Starbucks in 1999, Tazo is the exclusive tea offered at Starbucks coffeehouses worldwide and Seattle's Best Coffee cafes in the U.S.
Kraft Foods, which previously distributed the Tazo RTD product line as part of its 10-year relationship with Starbucks, will continue the significant momentum it has built marketing and distributing Tazo filterbag teas and tea latte concentrates, as well as Starbucks® and Seattle's Best Coffee® packaged coffees in non-cafe channels.
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