006 20TB Camomile & LemongrassAs a marketer, one of my (more fun) tasks is to review and analyze product packaging.  I’m lucky to work in an industry where design and creativity are just as important as functionality.  My experience has led me to believe that nowhere is the packaging so important as it is in the United States.  There are a substantial number of tea brands, and with tea growing in popularity, the number just keeps growing every year.  When I visit countries outside of the U.S., I see some of the same brands we have here in the U.S., as well as a few regional or local brands.  However, if you take a look at the tea shelves in the average U.S. supermarket, there are rows and rows of tea, ranging from the big names, like Celestial Seasonings and Republic of Tea, to smaller brands, like Tea Forte.  According to store managers, shelf space has increased in the last couple years in order to accommodate all the brands and demand.  

So how does a brand stick out, especially when there is so much competition?  It’s a common marketing challenge for any brand.  In the past few years, it seems like one solution is to make the packaging design colorful and bold.  It’s an easy solution to help capture the attention of eyes scanning an endless array of teas.  Harney & Sons, Le Palais de Thes, and Kusmi Tea all stand out with their bright designs.  At Ahmad Tea, we’ve redesigned all our packaging to offer a more colorful look when placed on shelves; in fact, our herbal infusions incorporate handmade artwork for a beautiful and unique artistic touch.   

Mood-Garden-Packaging-design-1In addition to the outside packaging, many tea brands are getting creative with how the tea itself is actually packaged.  An article from Wabbaly talks about the innovative designs that are being considered in tea packaging, for both functional and creative purposes.  It’s clear that both consumers and brands have realized the potential of tea as gifts and possibly as décor.  Even Bigelow, a company that isn’t necessarily known for eye-catching designs, has reached out to design students to develop a more environmentally friendly tea box, resulting in a beautiful, reusable tea bag dispenser.  My favorite is the packaging from Mood Garden Tea, which is “too beautiful to throw away” and can be used as a book mark.  Genius!  Especially since tea and books go perfectly together!  

Tell me, which tea would you like to have as a gift?  Have you seen any particularly unique and creative tea packages?   It’s evident that while the actual flavor and aroma of tea (its quality) is critical, so is its presentation.  You have only to look at Twinings, which has undergone a modern makeover from their traditional look, resulting in a look that is not anything like Twinings!  I can’t wait to see what will be on the shelves in the summer months.