Starbucks puts ‘youthful and modern twist’ on tea as it launches Teavana range in the UK

Starbucks is confident that its new Teavana range, which will be rolled out across the UK this summer, will attract a more youthful audience and “rejuvenate” the tea category.

Teavana was acquired by Starbucks in 2012 and has proved successful for the brand. Ian Cranna, VP of marketing for EMEA at Starbucks, says it has made over $1bn in sales since launching in the US.

The UK launch will initially see shaken iced teas rolled out, followed by hot teas and lattes in the autumn. The new products will include blackberry mojito green tea lemonade and black iced tea lemonade. To raise awareness, the launch will be supported by in-store, digital, social and above the line activity. 

With the tea launch, the brand is keen bring a younger audience to the tea category while being respectful of “tea traditions” in the UK.

Cranna told Marketing Week: “We will of course have the more traditional teas in the range, including English breakfast and Earl Grey. We’re very respectful of tea traditions in places like the UK. We’re making sure to take those blends and elements of tea that we think are very appealing to younger customers and bring them into the category in a modern way.”

Craftsmanship will be a vital part of landing the Teavana brand with British consumers, and will see Starbucks baristas trained to add “art and theatre” to the in-store experience.

“The youthful and modern characteristics of the brand come through in the branding and product, but also brings craftsmanship and theatre to life in store through things like the shaken ice and tea latte art,” added Cranna.

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Starbucks showed off its Teavana range to British consumers at a preview event this week

“So absolutely, the craftsmanship of our baristas is going to be key in bringing the product to life, as well as its positioning. It rejuvenates the whole product category.”

Earlier this year, Starbucks got wrapped up in a scandal around the sugar content in its hot drinks. Campaign group Action on Sugar said its venti ‘grape with chai, orange and cinnamon hot mulled fruit’ drink contained a total of 25 teaspoons of sugar per serving.

However, Cranna said that while the iced teas will have some sweetening to them and the hot teas will include natural sugars, the brand has been careful not to include added sugars in Teavana.

He explained: “We’re very conscious of the sugar content across all of our drinks, but the most important thing is that customers can customise them and that they can choose. Transparency [around sugar content] is key, so all that information when we launch the Teavana products will be in store, on the website and on the app. We want to make sure customers know exactly what’s in the products.”

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