September 2012 Issue
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Twinkies and Tea

by Cynthia Fazekas

Irresistible sans health benefits.

There’s absolutely no good reason to eat a Twinkie. (Hang with me here, Hostess fans.) The iconic sugary, crème filled sponge cake has virtually no nutritional value. There is nothing in it that is going to make you thinner, prettier, anti-oxidize you or make you live longer. Even so, 500,000,000 Twinkies are baked every year and per the Hostess website, “ this creamy, cakey, golden goodness has been enchanting the masses for generations. One sweet bite at a time.” Why? Because they are tasty. Humans like to eat them. Back in January of this year, when Hostess filed for Chapter 11 protection, the Twinkie became endangered and people freaked out!

So Tea-lady, what’s your point?

Right now the trend is toward healthier food and beverage, which is truly great to see. This helps to lure new consumers to try the wonders of tea. But if we are solely selling our customers on the health benefits of tea, they and we are missing the real tea experience.

The very first time most of us tried a really nice, fine loose leaf tea we probably had no idea of any potential health benefits, yet we fell in love. The taste, the nuances and warm, wonderful feeling of a magnificent sip of tea were good enough. It made us happy and delivered a taste bud experience like nothing else could offer. Only later we learned about tea’s inherent benefits and for us, they were the icing on the cake, or the crème in the Twinkie, if you please.

Maybe the reputed health benefits are the carrot that leads the mainstream customer to try our premium grade teas, but the flavor, the taste experience are what will keep them. Remember to emphasize the whole tea experience and not just the perhaps tenuous promise of better health as a means to engage and keep the customer. How would your tea sales spiel change if there were no redeeming health value to a cup of tea? Be sure to keep the deliciousness factor front and center and we won’t loose out to the next health fad. Pretend, just for a moment, that you had to sell a Twinkie. What would you say?

The sip of an amazingly delicious tea is a reward in itself and certainly a treat – one that can be consumed regularly. Perhaps occasionally with a sugary, tooth tingling treat. You don’t have to eat both Twinkies – share the tea and Twinkie with a friend!