Rishi Tea & Botanicals’ new Sparkling Botanicals range is another example of a soft drinks brand adopting craft flavour and production elements. The company hopes that this will help it to appeal to a new generation of consumers and increased demand for added health benefits and full flavour wrapped up in a convenient ready-to-drink (RTD) format.

This trend was first seen in the coffee sector, with brands attempting to mimic the success of on-trade specialised coffees by launching new RTD cold and nitro brews. As tea-based beverages gain traction in the US, the same trend is expected to develop.

The Sparkling Botanicals range will help the company penetrate the RTD market while retaining a premium and novel position – something that will appeal to the 67% of Gen Y consumers in the US that are either interested in or actively buying craft style soft drinks.

Packaged in sophisticated, pastel-coloured cans that almost replicate the retro appeal of many gin bottles, it is clear that the brand is attempting to fill the gap made by growing teetotalism within younger age groups. Many US consumers are either cutting out or moderating their alcohol consumption, and this sparkling range aims to fill that void, without the ABV.

New, distinct flavours will prove key to the launch’s success. Globalisation and migrating influences from Asia have led to the rise in green and herbal teas, with Western consumers demanding their own spin on these long time Asian favourites. Available in six unique flavours that accentuate a distinct or novel ingredient such as Dandelion Ginger or Turmeric Saffron, the sparkling drink is both capitalising on the functional benefits these ingredients are known for and their ‘exotic’ nature.

What’s more, the new range is advertised as having ‘wellness functions’, an important claim amidst growing health consciousness worldwide. Many consumers are looking for products that benefit both their mind and body and help them to live a cleaner lifestyle. Highlighting ingredients such as ginger, which is often used for a natural detox, is increasingly important for brands that wish to create a lasting presence in the market.

Ultimately, Rishi Tea & Botanicals new range leverages unique flavour combinations and natural, functional ingredients that feed into consumers’ perception of high quality. The brand has used its roots in the craft hot tea industry to diversify and create something truly unique to the RTD sparkling tea category.

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