Tea for all
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Pure Leaf and the wave of brands refreshing the tea category.
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April 02, 2024

Retail Brew

Contentful

It’s Tuesday, and fast food workers in California are now getting paid at least $20 per hour, per a new state law that took effect yesterday. This positive news for workers kicked off a big week for the labor market. The monthly jobs report is due out Friday, and economists are expecting the momentum of recent months to continue.

In today’s edition:

—Erin Cabrey, Alex Vuocolo, Andrew Adam Newman

MARKETING

Tea party

Bottle of Pure Leaf iced tea Pure Leaf

Here’s the tea on tea: It’s the second-most consumed beverage in the world, while bottled and canned iced tea specifically is a now $4.6 billion category, per Circana data ending February 25. Like many beverage categories, it’s dominated by a few players—AriZona is nearly neck and neck with Pepsi and Lipton’s joint venture Pure Leaf—though a group of new players are hoping to shake things up.

Pure Leaf, holds just over 21% market share with $988 million in sales, with AriZona just slightly above it with more than $1 billion in sales, per Circana. Coca-Cola’s rival tea brand, Gold Peak, has nearly 13% market share, and Lipton and Pepsi’s Brisk round out the top five. New brands like Honest Tea founder Seth Goldman’s Just Ice Tea, AriZona co-founder John Ferolito’s Saint James, Morgan Wallen’s The Ryl Co., and products from buzzy brands like Liquid Death and Swoon, have recently cropped up, promising better-for-you or sustainably sourced offerings.

But Pure Leaf isn’t resting on its laurels. It’s focusing on innovation like its first zero-sugar offering, Zero Sugar Sweet Tea, which debuted last week. Julie Raheja-Perera, general manager and VP North America of the Pepsi Lipton Partnership, told Retail Brew she is “very bullish around the future of the category.” The swath of emerging brands, focusing on attracting new consumers, are too—so is there room for everyone?

Keep reading here.—EC

   

PRESENTED BY CONTENTFUL

Feelin’ (your) content?

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OPERATIONS

Carrying on

UPS Nate Hovee/Getty Images

UPS is set to become the US Postal Service’s primary air cargo carrier, replacing FedEx, which spent two decades in the role. But who exactly is losing out in the shipping industry shake-up is unclear, as FedEx hinted that ending the contract could help drive efficiency and profitability.

“Upon the conclusion of the contract, we will implement adjustments to our network that will drive efficiencies and create more flexibility,” the company said in a statement. “The elimination of structural costs currently in place to support postal service volume will be addressed and, in conjunction with our DRIVE efforts, FedEx profitability will improve in FY25 and beyond.”

An industry expert made a similar point in February. Barclays analyst Brandon Oglenski told FreightWaves that dropping USPS could improve profitability at the company, which is currently in the midst of a reorganization designed to streamline its operations.

On the deal, FedEx said it was “unable to reach mutually agreeable terms,” despite expressing confidence that it would extend the contract as recently as March 21.

Keep reading here.—AV

   

FOOD & BEV

Not milk?

An illustration where containers of dairy milk and plant milk are pitted against one another in a basketball game. Aaron Steckelberg/the Washington Post

The dairy industry’s ongoing effort to restrict beverages made from almonds, oats, and other plants from calling themselves “milk” suffered a setback in 2023, when the FDA ruled that they could continue labeling themselves as such.

Part of dairy brands’ objection has been strictly definitional: They argue that milk is produced by animals and, as former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb memorably put it in 2018, “an almond doesn’t lactate.”

Dairy farmers and brands also have argued that cow milk is nutritionally superior to non-dairy alternatives. “Everybody wants to be milk,” stated a 2023 commercial that mocked plant-based milk from the California Milk Processor Board, best known for its “Got Milk” campaign. “It remains the undefeated real, healthy, tasty beverage champion.”

Entangled in competing corporate interests and consumer preferences, the dispute over which of the beverages is superior may never be settled. But that didn’t stop the Washington Post from entering the fray (and whey) on March 21, when it published an interactive feature under the headline, “Dairy vs. plant milk: Which is better?”

Keep reading here.—AAN

   

TOGETHER WITH NEWSTORE

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SWAPPING SKUS

Today’s top retail reads.

Going boxless: Amazon is on a mission to cut back on the use of cardboard packaging to ship its products. (CNBC)

The dearly departed department store: Going deep on the past, present, and future of the department store. (Forbes)

Fast profits: Fast fashion retailer Shein more than doubled its profits to $2 billion last year, as it waits for authorities in London and New York to greenlight a planned IPO. (The Guardian)

Right message, right moment: Take a look at The retail guide to composable content by Contentful to learn how a composable content platform can connect digital teams + content to boost your biz.*

*A message from our sponsor.

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