Coca-Cola Announces Plans to Discontinue Honest Tea, Co-Founder Calls Decision a 'Gut Punch'

·2 min read
Honest Tea on display at Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village Featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations during 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE at Grand Tasting Village on February 27, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida.
Honest Tea on display at Goya Foods Grand Tasting Village Featuring MasterCard Grand Tasting Tents & KitchenAid® Culinary Demonstrations during 2016 Food Network & Cooking Channel South Beach Wine & Food Festival Presented By FOOD & WINE at Grand Tasting Village on February 27, 2016 in Miami Beach, Florida.

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Honest Tea will be phased out of the Coca-Cola lineup as Gold Peak and Peace Tea step up in its place.

On Monday, Coca-Cola announced that Honest Tea will be discontinued by the end of 2022 because of sales trends and supply chain challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a statement, the end of Honest Tea means greater focus and resources for the two other Coca-Cola ready-to-drink teas: Gold Peak and Peace Tea.

"Ongoing supply chain challenges mean we are having to prioritize production and distribution of certain product SKUs, and that we've been unable to meet consumer demand for Gold Peak," Sabrina Tandon, the ready-to-drink tea group director at Coca-Cola North America Operating Unit, said in a statement. "This, among other factors, helped drive this very difficult decision."

The beverage mavericks will phase out Honest Tea products but will continue to produce and distribute Honest Kids products.

On Monday, co-founder of Honest Tea Seth Goldman tweeted about this decision and called it a "gut punch."

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Goldman also tweeted that he is "somewhat consoled by the fact that #HonestKids will continue to grow and thrive."

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While sales diminished for Honest Tea because of "a drop in immediate consumption sales and limited glass supplies," sales of both Gold Peak and Peace Tea increased during the pandemic, according to the release. The brands credit the sales growth because shoppers gravitated towards beverages with immune-boosting properties and multi-serve packaging options.

The Honest brand was founded in 1998 and Coca-Cola took a 40% stake in Honest in 2008 before fully acquiring the brand in 2011.

Superfans of Tab, another discontinued Coca-Cola product, recently took a stand against the company's decision. Coca-Cola discontinued Tab soda in 2020, a diet soda that first launched in 1963. Tab diehards formed the SaveTabSoda Committee in 2020 in an effort to resurrect Tab, and Food & Wine reports that the members have raised money, carried out "coordinated call days" and launched a letter-writing campaign to bring back Tab.

In February, SaveTabSoda created both a Change.org petition — which has over 2,800 signatures as of Tuesday — and an online fundraiser.