Javo Beverage’s new line of iced tea concentrates help drive higher margins for quick-service operators by appealing to trend-conscious consumers.

Compared to a year ago, Gen Z and Millennials are more likely to be consuming a wider variety of beverage types and a greater variety of brands. According to Datassential, 80 percent of consumers are interested in functional beverages and 18- and 24-year-old consumers gravitate specifically toward iced teas to deliver a functional benefit. 

“To gain entry to this space and appeal to the market, quick-service restaurants must continue to innovate, expand, and reinvent their beverage offerings. What’s launching and what’s relevant in the consumer-packaged goods space often influences the foodservice space. For example, while traditional iced teas are falling by the wayside, the category is seeing explosive growth when it comes to flavor and function,” says Chris Johnson, executive vice president of sales and marketing for Javo Beverage.  

“We’re giving operators the opportunity to participate in the premium side of iced tea and create a unique product identity—doing it in a way that allows them to take labor out, provide consistency, reduce waste, and to scale to any volume,” Johnson adds. “Our new naturally flavored iced teas are designed to go head-to-head with products like the national leading coffee chains shaken iced teas. And that’s really the main competition that most quick-service restaurants are dealing with for beverage sales.”

Javo’s team targeted three iced tea products to launch with innovative flavors that lean into the functional benefits space, with recognizable health halo aspects: tropical Mango Guava Black Tea, Peach Ginger Hibiscus Herbal Tea, and an emerging flavor of Blood Orange Black Tea. The goal is to help quick-service restaurants drive sales based on consumer trends—for instance, Datassential MenuTrends cites blood orange with a four-year growth spurt of 170 percent.

“We have a robust offering—everything from traditional black teas to unique organics and herbal extracts. We source teas from all over the world, and through our recent integration with Florida Food Products, we now also have our own internal natural flavors production and beverage formulation capabilities,” says Johnson.

Quick-service restaurants are only one fruit inclusion or garnish away from differentiating their very own beverage with a few custom additions (and if this sounds like a mock sangria, the very demographic seeking these iced teas are also seeking nonalcoholic beverage alternatives). 

For restaurants that don’t serve alcohol, Johnson also cites an opportunity to set a higher price point and drive higher margins: “A median price comparison from Datassential shows that traditional sweet or black teas are at a lower price point than more premium flavored teas. The difference is from about $1.99 to anywhere from $3 to $5 per beverage. That’s the opportunity.”  

The 5:1 iced tea concentrates are perfect for use with bubblers, tea urns, and handcrafting individual drinks. Once mixed with water, the iced teas can be stored for up to 24 hours ambient and seven days refrigerated. Typically, tea brewed on site is labor-intensive; it also requires space and equipment for a product that only holds up to eight hours refrigerated per CDC guidelines. “We’re eliminating labor and waste, delivering menu flexibility, and giving quick-service restaurants the opportunity to repurpose their valuable counter space—all while appealing to a younger demographic,” says Johnson.

Javo’s Mango Guava Black Iced Tea, Peach Ginger Hibiscus Iced Tea, and Blood Orange Black Iced Tea items are available starting in May 2023. To learn more, visit Javo Beverage’s website.

By Jocelyn Winn

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