What it is and how Honest was born, the organic tea created by Seth Goldman who left finance to devote himself to sustainability
Iced tea is one of our favorite summer products. Fresh, thirst-quenching and always ready in the fridge, it is a drink that we are very fond of since we were children. And in a panorama of historical products and teams fishing against lemon, there's a novelty that promises to set new rules. Starting from the ethical sense. Honest is in fact produced using organic ingredients grown in full compliance with local farming communities and supporting organic farming practices that have a positive impact on the environment and biodiversity. Chosen by Coca-Cola to quench thirsty consumers, it arrived on the Italian market bottled in 100% recyclable glass in two flavors: lemon and orange blossom, raspberry and basil.
But to make this drink unique is also its history. To deepen it we met Seth Goldman the co-founder of the brand that in 1998 made the first infusion in the kitchen of his home with tea leaves, hot water, organic fruit juices and a touch of cane sugar inventing the recipe that convinced Coca-Cola to support his project.
We know that Honest was born in the kitchen of your home. Tell us how it happened and when you realized that it could become a product to be marketed.
"It was the fall of 1997 and I went to run in Central Park in New York. After the race I was thirsty and when I went into a store to buy something I realized that there was nothing to quench my thirst – all the drinks were too sweet. I remembered a study I had done at the Yale School of Management and how, with my professor Barry Nalebuff, we agreed that there was a market opportunity for soft drinks. I contacted Barry and told him I was ready to act. He had just returned from India where he had conducted studies on the tea industry and had arrived with the name Honest Tea – it was perfect! I quit my job in the world of finance and started preparing samples of you in the kitchen of my house. I brought five thermos of you together with a label glued on a bottle of juice to Whole Food's purchasing department and they placed an order for 15,000 bottles ".
From the creation of the product to the agreement with Coca-Cola how much time has passed? Have you ever thought of giving up?
"I launched the company in 1998 and Coca-Cola invested in the company in 2008, so we were connected to Coca-Cola longer than we were as an independent company. There have been many difficult moments, but I never thought of giving up – I love this business too much and the impact it generates .
In recent years the world of tea has experienced a glamorous awakening. We tasted it in a bubble tea version, we used it to prepare cocktails and even as a base for summer popsicles. What do you think is the future of this drink?
"Tea is the second most famous drink in the world (second only to water), so it has been for centuries and so I expect it to continue to be. Tea is extraordinarily versatile – I do not know a culture all over the world that does not enjoy some form of fermented botanical products .
Still about the future. The sustainable component of Honest is one of its strengths, which brings us closer to conscious consumption even when it comes to commercial products. What can we do in our everyday life to amplify the benefits of this choice?
"The extraordinary and important thing about food is that it offers us all the opportunity to make informed choices about environmental impact. We can cycle to work and recycle containers, but the impact of our food choices dominates these other elements of everyday life. If we are able to offer consumers good alternatives and at competitive prices and educate them on the impact of their choices without sermons or relying on feelings of guilt, we greatly improve our ability to be at their side in the journey towards a way of life healthier and more sustainable .
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