Thai tea for health: Low-sugar Lipton Ice Green Tea Honey Lemon launched as a ‘better-for-you’ option

By Pearly Neo contact

- Last updated on GMT

Suntory PepsiCo Beverage Thailand (SPBT) has released a new, low-sugar version of its Lipton Ice Tea exclusively for the Thai market, tapping into demands for healthier products and reflecting the new regulatory landscape in the wake of the nation’s sugar tax. ©SPBT
Suntory PepsiCo Beverage Thailand (SPBT) has released a new, low-sugar version of its Lipton Ice Tea exclusively for the Thai market, tapping into demands for healthier products and reflecting the new regulatory landscape in the wake of the nation’s sugar tax. ©SPBT

Related tags: Lipton, Thailand, better-for-you, Suntory

Suntory PepsiCo Beverage Thailand (SPBT) has released a new, low-sugar version of its Lipton Ice Tea exclusively for the Thai market, tapping into demands for healthier products and reflecting the new regulatory landscape in the wake of the nation’s sugar tax.

Lipton Ice Green Tea Honey Lemon was previously already available in Thailand in a full sugar formulation (11.3g of sugar per 100ml). This new version is lower in sugar, and has received a ‘Healthier Choice’ label.

“This variation of Lipton Ice Green Tea Honey Lemon [has been exclusively] developed for the Thai market, [and is designed] for consumers to ‘cool off’ during summertime,” ​a PepsiCo spokeswoman told FoodNavigator-Asia.

 “[We are offering this Lipton Ice Green Tea Honey Lemon variant] as a Better For You option, a healthier choice with less than six grams of sugar per 100ml,”​ she said.

This was in line with the Thai government’s introduction of a sugar tax into the country across six years​ (from 2017), which will apply to sugar-sweetened drinks containing more than six grams of sugar per 100ml.

“The tea kits [we use for this product] are imported from Ireland, but [production is conducted] locally at the SPBT plant in Rayong province, [in accordance with strict] Lipton standards,”​ she added.

“It is a [combination] of well‐sourced green tea leaves and natural honey, with a slight and exciting note of lemon.”

Lipton Ice Green Tea Honey Lemon is now available at all 7-Eleven stores nationwide in Thailand, at THB20 (US$0.63) per 445ml bottle.

Apart from this variant, SPBT also produces two other types of Lipton Ice Tea in Thailand: Lipton Ice Black Tea Lemon and Lipton Ice Black Tea Peach.

More innovations

This release came close on the heels of another SPBT launch in Thailand, the goodmood water range​.

“‘goodmood’ is not a functional drink, it’s a ‘water plus’ beverage,”​ Omer Malik, SPBT CEO told us previously​.

“Water is good for daily hydration but [lacks] taste enjoyment, while sweetened drinks are tasty but high in sugar, so we [saw] an unmet demand there, [and decided] to offer a new choice to consumers: ‘Water Plus’.​ ​

“It’s [essentially water plus] a refreshing taste, so is a [guilt-free], healthier choice with sugar [content of] less than 6 grams per 100ml.”​

The ‘Water Plus’ category was established by Suntory in Japan in 2014 using a blend of its ‘expertise in innovations, continuous investment on brand development and strong market executions’​. The range includes plain water, natural tasting water and sparkling water.

Sugar tax in Thailand

Thailand’s sugar tax introduction in 2017 has led to a natural decrease in demand for sugar in the local market.

Drink manufacturers used just some 440,000 tons of sugar in 2017 as compared to 540,000 tons in 2016, and snack producers used just 29,000 tons in 2017 as compared to 36,000 tons the year before, according to numbers from the Thai Office of Cane and Sugar Board.

According to the United States Food and Agriculture Organisation, Thailand is one of the world’s largest sugar producers, and the third in Asia behind India and China.

As of March 2019, tax rates in Thailand for sugar-sweetened drinks such as Lipton Ice Green Tea Honey Lemon stand at an excise rate of 14% (of retail price) plus additional sugar taxing according to content, as per data from the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service.

As of October 1 2019 this will change to a 10% excise tax and higher adjusted sugar content taxing.

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