Those of you who have been with Voće from the beginning know that we originally sold our teas in clear plastic gift boxes. We did this for a couple of reasons. First, we wanted people to see how our teas differed from our competitors’ products. We really do pride ourselves in the fact that there is nothing really like our teas available on the market, and transparent packaging seemed like the best way to do that. After all, we use beautiful organic whole fruit, and more than anything, we wanted to show it off!
Second, when we first started our company, we planned on cultivating a more robust retail presence. As you probably know, retail CPG packaging is an art unto itself, and many companies pour millions of dollars into fine-tuning the look and feel of their packaging. When products are in brick and mortar retail locations, they really need to stand out on the shelf. From this perspective, then, it made a certain amount of sense to have clear plastic packaging.
At the end of the day, however, we decided to focus most of our attention on developing our online business, rather than moving into retail in a big way. There were lots of issues that we considered, but the fact that our product is light and shelf stable was the deciding factor. It’s easy and affordable to ship directly to customers, which allows us to avoid the headaches of retail distribution. Once we came to this realization, it was no longer quite as important that our teas stand out on store shelves, and it wasn’t as crucial that the teas be in transparent packaging.
Like many of you, we were also increasingly alarmed about the unnecessary waste and destruction caused by single-use plastics. Our company was founded in an attempt to provide a healthier, more sustainable tea option for consumers. Polluting the world with even more plastic, even recyclable PET, seemed like a huge problem. Moreover, we had already spent a considerable amount of time and effort—and money!— into ensuring our tea bags and outer wrappers were plastic free, so it made sense to go the whole nine yards. The more we thought about it, the more we became convinced that going plastic free was the right thing to do, both from a business and an environmental perspective.
In order to facilitate this move, however, we first needed to redesign our package labeling. Even though we didn’t need a transparent box any longer, we still wanted to highlight the natural features of our teas. Consequently, we got rid of our original labels that included only text and replaced them with our current labels where the teas are pictured in all their natural glory. By placing this more attractive label on our 97% post-consumer waste recycled boxes, we are able to maintain a chic look that is also good for the environment.
In addition, we needed to redesign our website so customers who wanted to see our teas could do so quickly and conveniently. We also needed to slowly wean customers off the old packaging and get them to embrace the new look. Of course, we continue to encourage customers to purchase tea with no external packaging whenever that’s feasible, and the majority of you go this route.
In the end, we think we’ve been pretty successful. We now have a great looking product, inside and out. We know that some of you will miss the clear gift boxes, especially around the holidays, but we will try to make it up to you by offering $1 gift wrapping. Hopefully, that will give you the best of both worlds. Drink well!
In the summer months, consumption of hot tea generally declines in the U.S. (The one exception to this trend is in offices, where many women are “fighting the battle of the thermostat.”) So, how do we take our favorite hot beverage and make it cold?
We’ve posted about this on social media before, but we thought it was worth doing here on the blog. Making iced Voće is really quite easy. All you need to do is find a good brewing jar—we prefer half gallon wide-mouthed Ball mason jars, like this. Then you should CAREFULLY cut the strings off your tea bags and add boiling water. We suggest using approximately 12-16 oz of boiling water for every tea bag. In other words, if you want to make a half gallon of iced tea, you should use a maximum of 4 tea bags. You should double that for a gallon. Once you’ve added boiling water, let the tea bags steep until the water cools down to room temperature. Then fish out your tea bags and enjoy.
If you plan to make iced Voće regularly, we suggest you invest in a mesh infuser. This is the one we use because it fits a half gallon mason jar perfectly. If you use an infuser, you should cut open your tea bags in step 1 and deposit the ingredients (rather than the entire tea bag) in the infuser. Then add boiling water and let the tea cool to room temperature. With an infuser, you can leave the ingredients in the brewing jar overnight.
If you plan to pour your tea over ice, then we suggest brewing the tea strong, so the melted ice doesn’t dilute the flavor. You can garnish your iced tea with fresh fruit, and if you like lightly sweetened tea, you can always add a little sugar or honey to taste. Drink well!
If you’re a frequent visitor to this website, then you’ll know just how skeptical we at Voće Tea are about pesticide use. A case last week reaffirmed why we think it’s best to know exactly where your food is coming from and exactly what chemicals it has been exposed to.
Last week, the Environmental Protection Agency lifted its ban on a common pesticide, chlorpyrifos (sold under the name Lorsban), despite the fact that the EPA’s own studies have linked the pesticide to health problems in children. The move was largely seen as a capitulation by the Trump administration to pressures from big business. According to Earthjustice, “Chlorpyrifos is acutely toxic and associated with neurodevelopmental harms in children. Prenatal exposures to chlorpyrifos are associated with lower birth weight, reduced IQ, loss of working memory, attention disorders, and delayed motor development.” Years ago, the EPA concluded that the amount of chlorpyrifos ingested by young children could exceed healthy limits by more than 140 times, since young children are, pound for pound, more likely to consume fruits and fruit juices. Alarmingly,
chlorpyrifos is extremely widespread, being applied to more than 50 fruit and nut varieties in the U.S.. In 2016, it was applied to 640,000 acres of crops in California alone! You can read more about chlorpyrifos and the recent efforts to ban the pesticide here and here.
Our position has always been that the fewer chemicals and pesticides you consume the better. We try to do our part, and we hope you do, too! Drink well!
Here’s something that caught our eye. Last week, the latest issue of BMJ included a study that suggests an association between consuming sugary beverages and developing certain kinds of cancers. The study, which can be found here, concluded that consuming sugary drinks were “significantly associated with the risk of overall cancer and breast cancer.” The study followed over 100,000 subjects for a five-year period of time and found that approximately 2,200 of them developed cancer over the course of the study. The majority of those who developed cancer consumed sugary beverages on a regular basis. Researchers defined a “sugary drink” as one that contained more than 5 percent sugar, including sugared sodas and 100 percent fruit juices. Most sweetened teas would likely fall into this category, as well. You can read more analysis about the study in this New York Times article.
Of course, correlation doesn’t necessarily signify causation, so we all need to be cautious about interpreting these results. But for people who are interested in limiting their sugar consumption, there are plenty of options out there. The most obvious lifestyle change you can make is to simply drink more water, which is healthy, universally available, and free. You can also switch to consume dairy or plant-based milks or artificially sweetened beverages. Another option (surprise!) is to incorporate more unsweetened beverages, like Voće Tea, into your daily regimen. Voće teas are great served both hot and cold, they contain no added sugars, and they are made with 100% organic ingredients. Regardless of what works for you, we encourage everybody to be more mindful in their consumption habits. Drink well!