Lipton works with Rainforest Alliance to ensure tea is sourced sustainably

Following its acquisition of the world's fastest-growing organic tea brand in UK organic herbal tea company Pukka Herbs Ltd in September, the US division of UK-Dutch food conglomerate Unilever said in October it had launched a new Lipton certified-organic Black Tea, and the acquisition of Brazilian natural and organic food company Mae Terra.

Unilever said that the new Lipton Organic Black Tea is made with the finest USDA Organic and Rainforest Alliance certified black tea leaves picked at the peak of freshness from the Kenyan Highlands.  

"We're thrilled to bring an organic option to the market at an affordable price," said George Hamilton, tea director at Unilever. "We are also hugely proud of the blend that will deliver a naturally smooth taste that's rich and delicious.

"Lipton Organic Black Tea is Rainforest Alliance Certified. It's available in retailers nationwide beginning in early October. The suggested retail price is USD4.00 per 72-count box of individually wrapped tea bags."

Unilever said it was ranked number one in its sector in the 2016 Dow Jones Sustainability Index. In the FTSE4Good Index, it achieved the highest environmental score of 5 and led the list of Global Corporate Sustainability Leaders in the 2017.

In October, Unilever announced that it has signed an agreement to acquire Brazilian natural and organic food business Mãe Terra, which was founded in 1979 and has more than 120 products. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Mãe Terra is a fast-growing and well-loved brand in Brazil, providing health-conscious consumers with organic and nutritious food products since it was set up in 1979," Unilever said.

"The company’s vision is to democratise natural and organic food by taking care of people and planet. Mãe Terra operates in several categories with a portfolio that includes organic cereals, cookies, snacks and culinary products. The main Mãe Terra categories represent a Brazilian market worth more than EUR8 billion (Euromonitor).

"Growing at over 30 percent per year, Mãe Terra has a strong brand equity and a clear purpose of making nutritious food accessible to all. This fits clearly with Unilever’s own sustainable nutrition strategy and its commitment to sustainable growth."

Globally, the healthy foods trend is gaining relevance fast. Brazil is the fifth largest market in the world for healthy food and beverages, with 79 percent of consumers regarding health and nutrition as priorities, Unilever added.

Fernando Fernandez, president of Unilever Brazil, said: “We are excited about this acquisition. Mãe Terra has a great following in Brazil and strengthens our food portfolio, allowing us to accelerate our expansion in the high-growth naturals and organic segment. With Unilever’s expertise and distribution channels, we can both grow and scale Mãe Terra, helping to realise its mission of bringing healthy and nutritious food to even more people."

Alexandre Borges, CEO of Mãe Terra, said: “Unilever understands how preserving our purpose-driven culture is critical to the growth of our business and the popularity of our foods. It is uniquely placed to help us accelerate our mission to bring natural and organic food to more people in Brazil.”

Unilever said it will manage Mãe Terra to ensure its unique culture and vision is preserved, while Alexandre Borges will stay on as general manager.