Lipton (a Unilever company) recently announced that their popular Peach Iced Tea in bottles has been discontinued. A company spokesman said that due to lagging sales the decision has been made to stop production. According to a company spokesman, "Marketing is a complex function, and many business factors are taken into consideration prior to discontinuing a product. Consumer demand is major factor".
Consumers have reported disappointment as the flavor was just beginning to garner favor among Peach Iced Tea drinkers. Snapple who has a peach flavored iced tea in bottles, recognized early on that the peach flavor was a big seller in its line. It quickly developed a large and devoted consumer base. It wasn't long after introducing the original sugar sweetened peach flavor that Snapple introduced a diet version that quickly caught on with diet tea drinkers.
Lipton on the other hand has had trouble keeping their peach flavored iced tea on the shelves, due mainly to a lack of commitment by the company to sufficiently stock the product in stores. So one would have to wonder if low sales volume is due to low "consumer demand" or because of insufficient stock. If shelves are consistently stocked with insufficient quantities, it will tend to sell out more quickly and not leave enough stock for other consumers who might purchase it. This of course makes it more difficult to cultivate loyalty among consumers if they can't find the product on the shelves.
At this point Lipton has no plans to bring the flavor back. In the interim Lipton is relying heavily on their Green Tea flavor, which has met with mediocre sales, to support the bottled iced tea line. Many consumers have complained that the Green Tea doesn't have the flavor appeal that they found in the peach flavor. In the mean time, store shelves seem to be overflowing with Green Tea flavors which is either due to low "consumer demand" or overstocking.
Product feedback is always a factor in company marketing. Many will remember the "new Coke" fiasco. Consumer feedback to the company quickly brought back the original Coca Cola marketed as "Classic Coke". Lipton Iced Tea, which is bottled and distributed by Pepsi, has stated, "Consumer comments are evaluated on a regular basis." If the company was to receive enough feedback requesting its return, minds may be changed.
If you would like to submit your comments about discontinuing the Peach Iced Tea flavor, you can do so at www.Lipton.com, or call them at 1-888-LiptonT (1-888-547-8668).
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