China Food

Coca Cola sells herbal tea recently?! Can it be a “health preserving and happy water” this time

If Coca Cola launched a new herbal tea drink, what would it taste like? Now the answer is there.

The snack generation noticed that in the hot summer, the flagship store of Coca Cola tmall launched a “Health workshop” Prunella herbal tea. The launch also represents that the world’s largest soft drink company has entered the Chinese mainland herbal tea market for the first time in recent years.

When replying to the inquiry of the snack agency today, Coca Cola said that “Health workshop” had become a member of the company’s beverage family in 2005. This time, it introduced the latest move of the mainland’s full category beverage strategy. Now, we might as well “taste” together.

Target population

Let’s take a look at the new products.

According to the e-commerce page, “Health workshop” Prunella herbal tea is produced in Hong Kong, China. In addition to highlighting the ingredients of Prunella vulgaris, the bottle also indicates that “Luohanguo brings natural sweetness” and “no additional artificial flavors and pigments are added”.

Like most ready to drink herbal tea, this new product also emphasizes “clearing away heat and reducing fire”. The hot-pot/" 22375 rel="nofollow" target="_self">hot pot background image adopted on the e-commerce page seems to imply that its main scenes include catering.

The company said to the snack generation that the target group of “Health workshop” is mainly “urban office workers who are busy in daily life and want to pay attention to active life”. Introducing it into the mainland market “is an exploration of the subdivision of tea drinks, which is still in the preliminary stage”. In 2020, Coca Cola announced the latest five key categories, including “bottled water, sports drinks, coffee and tea”.

The snack generation noticed that at present, only 24 bottles of Prunella vulgaris herbal tea in a full container of 500ml have been listed. As of the time of publication, the monthly sales volume was 48 pieces, the discounted price of the event was 247 yuan, and the price of a single bottle was about 10 yuan.

For the above new products, many consumers mentioned that the price was too high when communicating with snack makers. A person in the beverage industry guessed that the high pricing was due to the freight and taxes incurred from the import from Hong Kong.

In addition, two consumers told the snack generation that they were “willing to try new products”. “Because it is produced by Coca Cola, the packaging is fashionable, the heat is cleared and the fire is reduced. I will consider trying it with a taste mentality.” Said Miss Tan, a white-collar worker working in Guangzhou.

Statistics show that, unlike his predecessor, the “whole category beverage” strategy is a high-frequency word of zhankunjie, CEO of Coca Cola, which is to promote the transformation of Coca Cola and make it a more flexible and agile whole category beverage company. He believes that consumers are looking for more choices of drinks and various products that can meet different needs, emotions and times.

Under this strategy, Coca Cola company has targeted five categories and believes that they have “the greatest consumption potential”, which belongs to the field where the company should continue to strengthen its leadership, namely:

• Coca Cola

• flavored soda

• bottled water, sports, coffee and tea

• nutrition, fruit juice, milk and vegetable beverages

• emerging categories

In the Chinese market, this strategy is also accelerating. In 20216, Coca Cola launched its first alcoholic beverage “TOPO Chico” in China. His e-commerce platform launched “Zhibai said flagship store” which specializes in selling plant-based drinks. In September, Coca Cola

Zhan kunjie, CEO of Coca Cola (information picture)


Interestingly, this time the “Health workshop” has returned to the mainland market again, and Coca Cola has long been interested in herbal tea drinks.

According to the public information of the snack generation, the predecessor of the “Health workshop” brand is tongzhitang, which was founded in Hong Kong in 1989 and sells traditional herbal tea. Later, the founder of tongzhitang thought that there were limitations in traditional herbal tea, so in 2000, he established a “Health workshop” to replace tongzhitang. The products were also changed from traditional herbal tea to health drinks that match the people’s life, and carried out the business of packaged drinks and herbal tea shops.

By november2005, Coca Cola officially purchased the production line of “Health workshop” packaged drinks and formed a strategic partnership. Coca Cola was responsible for all production, distribution, market planning, promotion and product research and development. Health workshop was the consultant for product research and development. Shortly after the acquisition, Coca Cola brought the “Health workshop” to some mainland cities, but no more substantive progress has been made since then.

With the reorganization of Coca Cola, COFCO and Swire took charge of their Chinese bottling system, and the “Health workshop” is currently operated by Swire Coca Cola. The snack generation browsed the latter’s website and found that “Health workshop” has launched a number of traditional plant drinks in Hong Kong, including bamboo cane grass root sea coconut drink, lemon job’s tears water, rock sugar Sydney, etc.

In fact, Coca Cola explored more about health drinks than that.

According to the data of the snack generation, in 2007, Coca Cola and the Chinese Academy of traditional Chinese medicine established a research center in Beijing to jointly develop healthy traditional Chinese medicine drinks and conduct relevant scientific research. At that time, the move was interpreted by the outside world as that Coca Cola wanted to “take a share” in the mainland herbal tea market, but the company did not disclose the specific plan.

At present, the above-mentioned centers seem to have been “silent” in open channels. Coca Cola today told xiaoshidai that the company established the largest R & D center in the Asia Pacific region in Shanghai in 2009. Since then, the R & D center has been responsible for all R & D of Coca Cola China.

In addition, it has to be mentioned that the Chinese herbal tea market is developing in full swing during the period from 2005 to 2007 when Coca Cola has made intensive “moves”. According to the people’s Daily quoted by in December, 2008, Wang Laoji, who was operated by JDB, surpassed Coca Cola in sales and became the first in the domestic canned beverage market.

At the same time, carbonated drinks are also trapped in the “unhealthy” consumption cognition. In China, non carbonated products such as drinking tea and fruit juice have become the focus of manufacturers.

Herbal tea track

However, different from the past, the situation of herbal tea drinks has also changed a lot.

According to the data of the prospective industry research institute, from 2011 to 2015, the market scale of China’s herbal tea industry continued to maintain a double-digit growth rate, with an average annual compound growth rate of 12.34%; After 2016, the growth rate of market scale dropped to single digits.

The outbreak of the epidemic makes drinking herbal tea worse. According to the China tea beverage report released by the company in 2021, the market share of Asian ready to drink herbal tea decreased by 27.1% in 2020 due to the impact of the epidemic on the Spring Festival peak season. However, before the outbreak of the epidemic, the segment was faced with difficulties due to lagging product innovation.

In recent years, some major herbal tea brands have also significantly increased innovation and promoted the diversification of taste and taste. Taking Wanglaoji as an example, the brand has launched black herbal tea, sugar free herbal tea, sugar free bubble herbal tea, jasmine herbal tea and other products. In addition, the herbal tea brand “Heqizheng” of Dali group also launched bubble herbal tea and sugar free herbal tea for the first time last year.

According to the tea beverage data released by inminster in 2022, Guangzhou Baiyunshan Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “Baiyunshan of Guangyao”) under Wanglaoji is the second largest instant tea beverage enterprise in China, with an estimated share of 17.7% in 2021. It is worth noting that among the top five enterprises from 2019 to 2021, Baiyun Mountain of Guangyao is the only player who “made the list” by herbal tea and ranks second. However, during this period, its share has decreased from 23.2% in 2019 to 15.5% in 2020.

On the positive side, it is found from the annual report of Dali group that the revenue of the brand in 2018 decreased by 6.3% year-on-year to RMB 2.361 billion. In 2019 and 2020, Dali did not separately disclose the income of herbal tea in its annual report, but said that there were challenges in the market and it would strive to achieve sales growth. In 2021, under the weak market environment, Heqizheng herbal tea decreased slightly by 2.3% year-on-year to RMB 1.668 billion.

Driven by innovation, coupled with the fact that the epidemic has entered the normal prevention and control stage, the herbal tea market has warmed up last year. According to the above yingminte tea beverage report, in 2021, the sales of ready to drink herbal tea in Asia is expected to reach 22.2 billion yuan, an increase of 9.7% over the previous year, thanks to the recovery of outing scenes and gift giving scenes.

The report also pointed out that leading brands such as Wanglaoji also used sugar free formula to innovate traditional products, helping Asian ready to drink herbal tea attract more high-frequency consumers under the trend of healthy diet. Compared with 2021, the number of high-frequency consumers of ready to drink herbal tea (i.e. consumers who drink it at least several times a week) increased by 12% in 2022.

For Coca Cola, this may be a good time to re-enter the herbal tea track, but how far it can go on this road is still unknown. Therefore, Coca Cola is quite low-key this time. It has a strong taste of “testing the water” by conducting small-scale sales through e-commerce platforms and collecting feedback from mainland consumers.

In addition, as a local traditional beverage, herbal tea still has limitations in consumption areas and scenes, and the current market pattern has been relatively stable. Whether the water test of the world’s largest soft drink company can open up a new imagination space remains to be seen.

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