NAMA Show 2018 Write-Up: "A Tea-Riffic Talk With Twinings"

April 19, 2018


Kristin Overstreet, national account manager for the eastern region of the United States, Twinings 

Tara King, Twinings 

Session Overview 

Kristin Overstreet and Tara King presented this talk with Twinings, which was really more of an informal sit down and guide on why tea can help boost your OCS and pantry service business. Overstreet, a national account manager for the eastern region of the United States, has experience in food service with Keurig and a background in micro market management when she worked with an operator. King has been in the hot beverage industry for over 16 years with companies such as Aramark and Keurig. King and Overstreet met while they were both working for Keurig, and their friendship and affinity for tea has continued into their positions at Twinings.  

Overstreet explained that all tea comes from the same plant. There are three main types of tea: green, black, and herbal. Contrary to popular belief, herbal tea is not actually tea. Rather, herbal tea is made of crushed herbs, as the name implies.  

What can tea do for your business? 

Why would it be advantageous to accelerate an existing tea program in OCS or pantry service? Tea is a healthy and flavorful alternative to coffee and other beverages, especially to younger generations, King and Overstreet explain. Tea is popular among younger consumers such as college students, who will be coming into the workforce in droves not long from now. Tea is also what Millennials are looking for. "They are willing to pay for the premiums teas and are looking for all types of different varieties," said Overstreet. It's worth it for the operator because of the profit.  

Coffee roasts can typically be placed into three categories: medium, full-bodied, and flavored. Unlike coffee, tea has many flavor options. When carrying tea in OCS or a pantry service, or at a micro market, have a good assortment and selection. Don’t be afraid to invest in higher quality teas, because consumers are willing to pay for it and the consumption is higher and will grow. Consumption is already growing, and there is no one catering to tea drinkers right now. There is great opportunity in office break rooms, pantry services and micro markets for tea. Hot beverage is what brings people to the micro market. The solution is to have a shelf stable product: tea is the perfect example of this.  

Globally, tea is the second most consumed beverage behind water. Twinings is the leading maker of iced tea. Iced tea is another option; it allows an operator to combine purchases – bottled water and tea.  

How to grow your tea sales 

There is profit and growth in variety; there are many types of teas, and one to two in each category should be offered: blacks, greens, flavored greens, and herbals. One great way to introduce a new tea into a micro market, for example, is through LTOs – seasonal teas. Put it in for a couple months and then take it out. Something new provides lift and growth.  

Provide a way for the consumers to communicate which teas they like, especially if the gatekeeper isn't a tea drinker. Get into the mind of the consumer when considering the teas that will be offered to them. Questions they might be asking of the tea are: Is it a quality tea? Is this a brand I trust? Does it taste fresh? Does it offer a nice aroma? Is it worth paying extra for? Is it going to provide me with the experience I'm looking for? 

Plentiful tea options 

There are many different packaging options, such as k-cups, loose leaf, pyramid, and bags. It really all depends on the consumer's personal preference. However, the most universal formats are bags or k-cups. Presentation of the product has a lot to do with if people choose the tea. In order to maximize the sales of your tea, consider utilizing  your resources in the following ways:  

  • Ask the manufacturer for all of their tea products – which ones are their top sellers? 
  • Ask about different display options 
  • Get sell sheets – make sure everyone has it 
  • Ask for samples 
  • Both Kristin Overstreet and Tara King are available to do Web Ex or jump into a tea tasting, etc., to help give extra information if needed 


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National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA)

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