Asahi SoftDrink Sales Co., Ltd. will launch a new green tea brand, “Asahi SOU,” on April 4th. They aim to sell 5 million boxes annually.
Asahi has launched a new green tea product called “Asahi SOU,” a different kind of green tea with a unique and vibrant aroma achieved by partially fermented tea leaves. The tea leaves are usually not fermented, but by fermenting them for a short period, the natural smell of the tea leaves is enhanced.
The bottle used for the 620ml and 2L PET containers was developed exclusively for Asahi SOU and had a wave-like design that represents the vibrant aroma of the product. The brand name and product features are communicated on the label, with the brand name prominently displayed in the center of the front of the bottle and “Aroma Rising” and “Partially Fermented Tea Leaves Used” written on the bottom.
A portion of the ink used on the labels of the 620ml and 2L PET containers is made from plant-based ingredients, contributing to reducing environmental impact.
Asahi surveyed 12,000 people over two years starting in 2021 to understand customer preferences for unsweetened tea. Through this survey, they found that customers’ tastes have changed from green tea with bitterness to green tea with a high aroma and crisp flavor.
Asahi worked with Japan’s top tea master, Yasuyuki Suda, to develop a green tea with a high aroma that meets the needs of the times. They focused on Ichō green tea (いちょう緑茶) but found that it was not easy to adjust the degree of fermentation, and it was not suitable for mass production.
However, with the cooperation of a factory that could produce Ichō green tea, they achieved mass production, as only 0.02% of Ichō green tea is made in Japan.
Advertising and promotional activities
Advertising and promotion activities for Asahi SOU include airing a TV commercial with a reach of 10,000 GRP annually, as well as digital campaigns and tie-in projects with influencers to raise awareness and consumption of Asahi SOU.
The green tea market is a significant category, accounting for 15% of the beverage market. Still, the market is mature, and growth rates are slowing down, so Asahi is focused on creating a new value proposition by developing this product.
*Reference: Mr. Yasuyuki Suda, 10th Dan, the highest-ranking tea master in Japan
A tea master who inherited the sixth generation Higashi Genbei at Houkodo, a long-established Uji tea shop that has been in business for over 180 years. It is certified as “Tea Judgment Technology 10th Dan (highest rank)”, selected only a few in the history of more than 60 years.