Unilever Buys Tazo; Nestle Acquiring Chameleon Cold-Brew

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Tazo Teas

The healthier beverage industry was in the M&A spotlight this week. Unilever has acquired Tazo Tea from Starbucks for $384 million and Nestle USA said it is buying Chameleon Cold-Brew, the leading organic cold brew brand in the U.S., for an undisclosed amount.

The Tazo brand is sold as packaged tea, K-Cup pods and bottled ready-to-drink and saw sales of $112.5 million during the past year. Unilever’s move appears to be an effort to expand its  portfolio of herbal and green teas, since slower-growing black tea makes up roughly 80% of its products. It also owns Pure Leaf and PG Tips. As for Starbucks, which originally purchased Tazo for $8.1 million in 1994, the company is expected to shift focus to its upscale Teavana brand.

Nestlé USA’s acquisition of Chameleon Cold-Brew, an Austin-based company known for organic, fair-trade, ready-to-drink coffee and coffee concentrate products, demonstrates the company’s shift towards the $2.5 billion in-home coffee industry. In September, Nestlé purchased a 68% share of Blue Bottle Coffee, a popular artisan coffee brand.

“Chameleon has been extremely fortunate to grow from our hometown base of cold-brew lovers in Austin to a national brand in just a few short years,” said Chris Campbell, co-founder and CEO of Chameleon Cold Brew. “Partnering with a world-class company like Nestlé will give us the opportunity to do so on a bigger platform. Our shared values around product integrity and commitment to sustainability made Nestlé the best choice to enable Chameleon Cold-Brew to accomplish our goals for the future.”

Published on WholeFoods Magazine Online, 11/4/17

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