DC-Metro Based Beverage Startup Role Tea Launches

Role Tea, a new line of bottled wellness iced teas that blends anti-inflammatory ingredients like turmeric, cinnamon and ginger with brewed teas and juices has officially launched in the Mid-Atlantic Whole Foods region. Just five months since launching, Role Tea has already began selling in select Whole Foods in DC, Northern Virginia and Maryland this week. They expect to be up and running in 15 to 25 Whole Foods locations in the region by Mid-June.
To understand the appeal of Role Tea, look no further than the brand’s focal ingredient, turmeric. The ancient spice popular in Asian cuisine has grown in popularity in the United States in recent years. This is due to its anti-inflammatory properties and wellness benefits. “Consumers are looking for better for you alternatives to beverages they drink regularly without compromising taste. Few ingredients cover the ‘better for you’ part of that equation like turmeric.” Mike Johnson, the company’s CEO/Co-Founder stated. Role Tea will be Whole Food’s only turmeric-based beverage to retail under $3 per bottle. This helps uniquely position the brand to make a strong run in the highly competitive, ready-to-drink tea category valued at $5.8 billion in the United States*. “Whole Foods continues to be a great partner for young brands like Role Tea. We’re excited for the opportunity to work with them,” Johnson added.
Role Tea started when Johnson tried to find an on-the-go beverage that may help fight inflammation. What he found were mostly juices high in sugar and priced above $5 per bottle. When Johnson considered launching a beverage of his own, he reached out to partner with Koray Benson, the company’s COO/Co-Founder. Johnson and Benson met as members of an Executive Leadership Development program in 2012 prior to pairing up to develop Role Tea in early 2016. It took the pair over 60 iterations to land on the brand’s three flavors (they call “blends”). The three distinct blends span from a 10 calorie, no sugar or sweetener added option to two options sweetened with cane sugar or honey. Every blend contains 400mg of either water-soluble turmeric or cinnamon extract to help support a better inflammation response in the body. Role Tea is sold in 12 oz. recyclable plastic bottles and consist only of 100% natural ingredients. The products are also vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO.
“We’ve come to learn a lot about the benefits of incorporating more anti-inflammatory foods into our diets. Inflammation related ailments are a real issue that we hope to build awareness of through our products and community involvement.” Johnson stated. Role Tea recently served as one of the first ever non-pharmaceutical product sponsors at Howard University’s 12th Annual Rheumatology Symposium. Role Tea also been product sponsors for the DC/NOVA chapter of the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation and contributor to the National Ovarian Cancer Coalition.
Role Tea focused on testing the product in select independent grocery, fast-casual restaurants and gas/convenience locations to better understand their core customer before approaching Whole Foods. “Our customers are more moderation minded. They want to make healthier choices but they don’t want to compromise taste to get it. They love how Role Tea gives them meaningful amounts of purposeful ingredients like turmeric or cinnamon with just the right level of flavor. It’s something we’re confident Whole Foods consumers will appreciate as well.” Benson stated.
To learn more about Role Tea and how to purchase, please visit their website at https://www.drinkroletea.com.

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