Lipton is a tea brand owned by Unilever. Before it was sold to Argyll Foods, Lipton was a chain of supermarkets as well. This allowed the company to focus just on selling tea. The company derives its name from the name of its founder, Thomas Lipton. Today, Lipton works in collaboration with PepsiCo to sell its ready-to-drink beverages. Let us explore the history of Lipton Tea Company and see where it stands today.
It was the year 1871, when Thomas Lipton of Glasgow, Scotland, utilized his savings to open a small shop. Much to his success, by the 1880s, it had grown to a large network of more than 200 shops. Then in 1929, Lipton retail business joined hands with colonial and home stores such as Templetons, Maypole Dairy Company, Galbraiths, and Parks to collectively form a food group that would extend the retail network by up to 3,000 stores.
Although the group traded in the High Street under various names on the UK’s stock market, it was registered as Allied Suppliers. The initial aim of Lipton back when it became a supermarket chain was to target small towns. This was before it was acquired by Argyll foods in 1982.
Thomas Lipton’s desire to stock new items in his store led him to travel the world. Amongst these items, there was tea. It was a time when back in the UK the demand for tea had doubled from 40 million pounds during the late 1870s to 80 million pounds by the mid of 1880s. Thomas was off the view that the tea sold was quite expensive and therefore, decided to purchase his own tea gardens.
These tea gardens were purchased in Ceylon, Sri Lanka, where he succeeded in selling the very first tea from Lipton. Since Thomas was a visionary man, he remained true to his vision by arranging packaging and shipping at low costs. He began selling his tea under different packets by the pound, such as half-pound, quarter-pound that had the advertising slogan “Direct from the tea gardens to the teapot.” As soon as Lipton entered the US, it became a huge success even there as well.
Then, the Lipton tea business was acquired by a much larger group Unilever at that time. However, Lipton tea was acquired under several transactions. The acquisition started with the business that operated in the United States and Canada in 1938. By 1972, Unilever had completed its acquisition of Lipton tea, after acquiring global Lipton business from Allied Suppliers.
The year 1991 saw Unilever joining hands with PepsiCo in its first joint venture. The Pepsi Lipton partnership came into being in order to sell the ready to drink teas in North America. Then, in 2003, there was a second joint venture taking place, followed by the first, Pepsi-Lipton International. The goal of this venture was to target many US markets that were not covered before. In 2007, PLI was expanded to accommodate several large European markets. Both Unilever and Pepsi own 50% shares of these joint ventures.
In 2008, due to the Chinese milk scandal, Unilever, which was a food giant at the time, started recalling its Lipton milk tea powder that it was selling in Macau and Hong Kong. However, it was recalled after it was observed through the internal checks of the company that the tea powder contained traces of melamine.
In 2011 Unilever came under criticism of PETA when it was accused of conducting experiments on rabbits, pigs, and other animals in an attempt to make claims regarding human health about the ingredients of tea. As stated by the animal rights organization, Unilever abandoned its practice of testing Lipton products after having gained the attention of 40,000 PETA supporters and days before PETA was to launch its “Lipton CruelTEA Campaign.” As of today, Unilever no longer conducts experiments on animals unless required by the governments as a part of their regulatory requirements.
Lipton not only specializes in making tea but soup mixes as well. Lipton in the 1950s in the United States launched a campaign where it promoted French onion dip, which was prepared at home using Lipton’s French onion soup mix, helping with popularizing chips and dip. Following this, the new commercially available variety of dips were produced in the US.
Lipton teas are manufactured and blended using special blends acquired from different plantations around the world. Countries such as Sri-Lanka are known to be some of the well-known producing countries along with Kenya, India, and China. Lipton Yellow Label today is blended from as many as 20 different teas.
Apart from the black leaves tea, the company produces other varieties such as leaf tea as well as ready-to-drink beverages. These include herbal teas, green teas, black flavored teas, and Lipton Linea in Europe. It also markets Milk Tea in several Asian Markets as well.
Furthermore, Unilever has been promoting the benefits of theanine, including Russia, Japan, and Australia. The reason being that theanine consists of psychoactive properties that help with mood alleviations and improvement. In addition to that, the plantations located in East Africa are still owned by Lipton. In May 2007, Unilever was the first company which had committed to outsourcing in a proper sustainable manner. It joined hands with an international environmental NGO by the name of Rainforest alliance to sell Lipton Yellow Label tea bags in Western Europe that would be certified by 2010. The manufacturer would then certify globally sold Lipton tea bags by 2015.
Lipton Yellow Label
Lipton Yellow Label was the first to be introduced in 1890 and has been in the market ever since. It is marketed and sold in over 150 countries. It is basically a blend of several tea types.
If a tea giant such as Lipton claims to produce the finest blended tea, you better believe it. With this product, Lipton’s master blender has put in everything from everywhere to craFift a delicious blend, which includes carefully selected and fresh-pressed tea leaves. This allows the tea to capture as much taste as possible. In order to lock in maximum taste and aroma, Lipton has used a new technique with this product. The leaves are pressed so that their natural essence could be released, and then the new blend is developed from the essence.
- Made from fresh-pressed tea leaves
- Finest blend made and used.
- Finest tea leaves handpicked and utilized.
Lipton’s decaffeinated Black Tea brings rich taste, intense color, and an invigorating aroma to the table. The tea leaves used in this tea are freshly handpicked and then pressed to capture as much tea taste as possible. This decaffeinated black could be used to either make iced or hot tea. This product is Rainforest Alliance certified, meaning that the tea leaves used to make the tea are 100% authentic and genuine. There are no preservatives or artificial flavors added to enrich the flavor.
- Rainforest Alliance certified
- Could be used to either make hot or iced tea
- 100% authentic tea leaves used
Lipton Black Tea Forest Fruit flavor is another hit amongst flavored beverages offered by Lipton. This tea is mostly consumed in Europe, and consumers have seemed to fall in love with it. Flavor aside, the aroma of the tea is such that it is bound to have one tantalized. Many of those who have tried this tea have liked it. It helps you keep hydrated. Furthermore, since there are no artificial flavors or additives included, this tea guarantees to offer the optimum tea flavor and experience.
- Forest Fruit Flavor
- One of best-selling Europe
- Tantalizing aroma
Lipton labels this tea as America’s favorite. This tea has touched the ultimate peak of freshness along with a naturally smooth taste. Lipton uses the same new technique of pressing fresh tea leaves for as much natural taste as possible. Similar to other iced and hot tea, Lipton Tea contains flavonoids. Consuming flavonoids on an everyday basis helps keep your heart healthy. Lastly, this is a 100% Rainforest Alliance certified product.
- Rainforest Alliance certified product.
- Contains flavonoids
- America’s favorite
Lipton Brisk is basically an iced tea brand that was given birth by the joint venture between Lipton and PepsiCo. This iced tea brand primarily focuses on markets located in North America. The taste of Lipton Brisk differs from other iced teas offered by Lipton due to the addition of Phosphoric acid added to the blend, which gives a unique tart flavor to the beverage.
Offered in four flavors, Lipton Iced Tea is sold in several markets by the name of Lipton Ice Tea.
Lipton brings you a great way to beat the summer. With its iced tea ready to be made within seconds, you are sure to breeze through the summers. It features real fruit flavors with no artificial preservatives. Furthermore, it is made from real tea leaves so that you know that you are sipping on the real stuff. It is a peach flavored beverage mixed with liquid iced tea for a great refreshing taste. If you want to enhance the taste, squeeze a bit of honey.
- Peach flavored
- Made from real tea leaves
- No artificial preservatives
The Lipton Iced Tea Mix comes with a raspberry flavor combined with other natural flavors and is a sweetened iced tea mix. The blenders at Lipton have created the perfect raspberry blend, which makes the tea both delicious and refreshing. This Iced Tea Mix is made from real tea leaves, cane sugar, and flavors sourced from natural sources. Therefore, you shall always find this tea to provide a satisfying and delicious taste. As with most of Lipton’s teas, the tea leaves for this tea are handpicked as well, which are then blended expertly to ensure a premium taste.
- Raspberry flavor
- Handpicked leaves
- Sweetened tea
Lipton Pyramid Tea
Lipton produces a tetrahedral bag format as well, which is also seen in other tea brands. In addition to that, Lipton clear was launched in five variants- English Breakfast Tea, Earl Grey Tea, Green Tea, Peach Mango Tea and Mint and Camomile Tea.
As you might have guessed, this is a diet based green tea that is focused on helping you lose weight and relax your nerves at the same time. It is a Lipton brewed iced tea with citrus flavor. The purpose of the citrus flavor is to provide a refreshing taste. Consumers have also voiced their opinions about the product in terms of having great taste. Lastly, the diet Lipton green tea helps increase your metabolism, which ultimately helps with weight loss.
- Citrus flavored
- Great taste
- Helps increase metabolism
Another green tea offered by Lipton is pure green tea. The manufacturer claims it to be 100% natural and is made from the finest leaves from across the world. It is 100% organic as well, which means that it does not consist of colorings, preservatives, or additives. This product was introduced as a part of Lipton’s collaboration with the Rainforest Alliance. Therefore it is certified as well. This green tea from Lipton has brought immense success to the brand. It stands as a major reason behind the brand’s popularity.
- Rainforest Alliance Certified
- 100% natural green tea
- Preservatives and additives free
As we reach towards the conclusion, it is well-established by now that when it comes to quality and price, Lipton has been able to remain consistent throughout the years. It stands shoulder to shoulder with the top tea brands globally and continues to expand its network.