Bob Tullio’s Product Perspective: A closer look at products, equipment and services that will impact an operator’s business

June 12, 2018
Twinings Tea in a 25ct box and Twinings Large Leaf Silk Pyramid tea bags.

The Product

Twinings Tea in a 25 count box and Twinings Large Leaf Silk Pyramid tea bags

Most popular flavors: Black Tea, Green Tea (Three Varieties) and Herbal Teas

Website –

The Back Story

The people at Twinings Tea like to say their product is “steeped in tradition.” After all, this classic line of teas has been around for over 300 years. Kristin Overstreet, national account manager (East Coast) said that until recently, Twinings has been focused almost entirely on the grocery channel and has enjoyed enormous success. Now, along with her west coast counterpart, Tara King, Twinings is looking at building the “away from home” channel, with emphasis on the office coffee service market.

While Overstreet admits that trying to convince operators to replace existing teas with Twinings is a challenge, she said the results have been impressive for those operators who add Twinings to the mix. “It’s nice that Twinings is the number one specialty black tea and that consumers prefer us,” said Overstreet. “Ultimately, the decision to bring in Twinings must be a business decision that makes sense for the operator.” She added that one major operator who switched from typical OCS tea brands to Twinings saw a 20 percent increase in sales.

Why it Makes Sense for Operators

1) Margins: Overstreet said that the most compelling reason to add Twinings Tea comes down to profit margins. “Our consumption is higher than typical coffee service teas,” she said. “Once you do get Twinings into an office you will sell more boxes for a higher price.”

2) Demographics: New locations offer a wonderful opportunity to introduce Twinings. As Overstreet points out, Millennials are a target market when it comes to demanding a wide tea selection. Considering that about 40 percent of today’s workforce is made up of Millennials, plus 9 percent are from the younger group following Millennials (many of whom have never seen Twinings and will find it new and exciting) – the timing is right for operators to integrate Twinings as a major tea offering.

3) Support: “Twinings is prepared to offer some aggressive sampling programs for operators who are serious about penetrating the market with Twinings Tea,” said Overstreet, who added that bringing Twinings Tea to a coffee tasting is a smart way to get Twinings into the product mix.

Bob’s Perspective

When I talk to people in the tea business, it sounds like they spend a lot of time convincing operators that tea is an important part of the hot beverage mix. Experienced and savvy operators already know this.

Here is Office Tea 101 from Overstreet: Black Tea makes up 25 percent of the market. Green Tea makes up 25 percent of the market. Herbal Tea makes up 50 percent of the market and is the fastest growing sector. That should help you put together your 8-rack tea display. In more eclectic offices, the employees can’t get enough green tea.

For amenity hungry locations (the best kind), don’t rule out the “Large Leaf” Silk Pyramid tea bags from Twinings. This exotic line is perfect for the office environment that is seeking a premium, high-end product, backed by an iconic name.

Speaking of price…if a location thinks that tea is breaking their budget, this is a good barometer on whether you should be serving the location at all.

The fastest way to add a premium tea to your product list is to give away a free rack of eight teas when you install a new location. At the route service following the tea rack installation, have your delivery person ask the client if they want the tea rack removed or replenished. As an operator, we found that 70 percent of the time, the tea rack never left the location.

For more information on Twinings Tea: Kristin Overstreet (East Coast)Tara King (West Coast)

Would you like to have your product, equipment or service featured in Bob Tullio’s Product Perspective? Contact me at [email protected]