Starbucks Coffee Company (NASDAQ: SBUX), PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE: PEP) and Unilever (NYSE: UN, UL) today announced a licensing agreement for the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of Starbucks super-premium Tazo® Tea ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages ? including iced teas, juiced teas and herbal infusions ? in the U.S. and Canada. The agreement leverages each company's world-class capabilities with the aim of igniting further growth in the RTD tea category.
Tazo's RTD line will be integrated into the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership (PLP), expanding the joint venture between PepsiCo and Unilever. Established in 1991, the PLP is the leading distributor of RTD tea products in the U.S.
"By joining forces with the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership, we're tapping into a long history of innovation and expertise in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of refreshment beverages," said Gerry Lopez, president, Global Consumer Products, Foodservice & Seattle's Best Coffee. "This move puts us in a prime position to take our successful Tazo bottled tea business to an even higher level."
Starbucks relationship with PepsiCo dates back to 1994, when the two companies formed the North American Coffee Partnership (NACP), a joint venture that helped build the RTD coffee category in the U.S. through the development and distribution of Starbucks bottled Frappuccino®, Doubleshot® espresso, Doubleshot Energy + Coffee and other beverages.
"Unilever and Starbucks have both been great partners of PepsiCo for over a decade, so culturally it's a great fit," said Mary Barnard, GM/VP, Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership. "By engaging the passionate base of Tazo consumers already established by Starbucks, leveraging the strength of the Pepsi bottling system and employing the beverage expertise of the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership, we'll be able to share Tazo RTD products with a larger audience than ever before."
"As the leading marketer of tea beverages in the world, we're always looking for opportunities to bring our global expertise to more tea lovers," said James Wong, Vice President, Business Development, Unilever Americas. "We're really excited about this opportunity to expand the Pepsi/Lipton Tea Partnership and enter into this agreement with Starbucks, whose brands and mission we genuinely admire."
Tazo has created more than 100 unique tea, fruit and herbal beverages in bottled, filterbag, full leaf and tea latte concentrate varieties. All Tazo tea blending is done on-site at Tazo headquarters in Portland, Ore. to ensure quality and flavor consistency. Samples from the world's finest tea gardens arrive daily, and after thorough testing, only 10 percent of the teas tasted find their way into Tazo blends. Acquired by Starbucks in 1999, Tazo is the exclusive tea offered at Starbucks coffeehouses worldwide and Seattle's Best Coffee cafes in the U.S.
Kraft Foods, which previously distributed the Tazo RTD product line as part of its 10-year relationship with Starbucks, will continue the significant momentum it has built marketing and distributing Tazo filterbag teas and tea latte concentrates, as well as Starbucks® and Seattle's Best Coffee® packaged coffees in non-cafe channels.
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at www.starbucks.com.
PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) is one of the world's largest food and beverage companies, with 2007 annual revenues of more than $39 billion. The Company employs approximately 185,000 people worldwide, and its products are sold in approximately 200 countries. Its principal businesses include: Frito-Lay snacks, Pepsi-Cola beverages, Gatorade sports drinks, Tropicana juices and Quaker foods. The PepsiCo portfolio includes 18 brands that generate $1 billion or more each in annual retail sales. PepsiCo's commitment to sustainable growth, defined as Performance with Purpose, is focused on generating healthy financial returns while giving back to communities the Company serves. This includes meeting consumer needs for a spectrum of convenient foods and beverages, reducing the Company's impact on the environment through water, energy and packaging initiatives, and supporting its employees through a diverse and inclusive culture that recruits and retains world-class talent. As a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World) and the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index (DJSI North America), PepsiCo is a recognized leader in sustainability. For more information, please visit www.pepsico.com.
Unilever's mission is to add vitality to life. We meet everyday needs for nutrition, hygiene and personal care with brands that help people feel good, look good and get more out of life. Each day, around the world, consumers make 160 million decisions to purchase Unilever products. In the United States, the portfolio includes brand icons such as: Axe, "all," Ben & Jerry's, Bertolli, Breyers, Country Crock, Degree, Dove personal care products, Hellmann's, Klondike, Knorr, Lipton, Promise, Skippy, Slim-Fast, Snuggle, Suave, Sunsilk and Vaseline. All of the preceding brand names are registered trademarks of the Unilever Group of Companies. Unilever employs more than 14,000 people in the United States and Puerto Rico ? generating nearly $11 billion in sales in 2007. For more information, visit www.unileverusa.com.