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Why the Change? Diet Steaz Moves to Zero Calorie

If you've every participated in a taste test at your local grocery store or recall those old Coke vs. Pepsi commercials, you know that taste is a matter of ...well, personal taste. Some people can tell the difference between regular and decaffeinated coffee and tea, and some cannot. And, some people have grown to prefer the taste of diet vs. regular soft drinks (I personally think those artificial sweeteners have an addictive effect on the body). And while taste is usually at the top of our priority list, we also make our buying decisions for a multitude of other reasons like price, a healthy lifestyle, to better manage a disease or to support a cause, like Fair Trade or Buy Local.

Steaz Energy Zero Calorie
Recently, Steaz reintroduced our popular Diet Steaz Energy with a new formula and packaging making it the first organic certified Zero Calorie Energydrink on the market. We also reintroduced our Diet Sparkling Green Tea line as a Zero Calorie Sparkling Green Tea. Both are naturally sweetened with the leaves of the stevia plant.

As is often the case when you change a product's flavor in some may, there are many who welcome the change and some who are disappointed. Of course, we do not wish to disappoint anyone and we are thankful to have the kind of consumers that are willing to tell us their true feelings about our brand.

So out of respect for all our consumers, we'd like to share our decision making process and why we determined that this change was needed.

Over the last year our team at Steaz (including Steven, the other company co-founder and I) spoke directly with our key retailers, distributors and as many of our core consumers as we could (we actually, affectionately call them "Steazers") to get their feedback on the move to use stevia as a replacement for the 40 calories of organic sugar we now use in our "Diet" products. There was no question that a certain percentage of folks enjoyed a "lightly' sweetened Energy Drink and Sparkling Green Tea. However, the majority felt that there was a wide consumer base, specifically those who exclude sugar from their diet for personal or health reasons, such as diabetes, that could be better served by a no-sugar alternative. Therefore, we made the move and created the first organic certified, zero calorie soft drinks in our industry.

As we explained in a previous post, Steaz Gives Sugar the Slimdown, we will also be lowering the amount of sugar in our regular Steaz Energy and Sparkling Green Tea products. Our Iced Teazalready have a low sugar content of 10 grams per serving. We hope that this change will win back those consumers who chose Steaz because of the Diet/Low Sugar option. Also, we made these changes recognizing that added sugar in the American diet has become a health concern of epidemic proportions. This decision further strengthens our mission and commitment to offer healthier soft drink alternatives.
Steaz Zero Calorie Orange
We view Steaz as a natural foods company and believe we have an obligation to lead and innovate healthier options for consumers, including sweeteners. Heck, we hope someday that the big beverage players wake up and take artificial sweeteners out of their Diet drinks and go natural with stevia. We hope products like Zero Calorie Steaz can be a catalyst to that change.

So far, we've been thrilled to see that our sales numbers on our four Zero Calorie Sparkling Green Teas are growing dramatically each month. We are amazed at the pickup of this line now by new retailers and consumers alike. The feedback we have received has been overwhelmingly positive. Yet certainly, I do understand that not everyone is going to be happy when a brand reformulates its products.

Please be assured that Steven and I are very hands on with our business and we speak to our retailers and consumers as much as possible to learn how we can improve our brand. And we remain dedicated to promoting Fair Trade and Organic, to working closely with our supply partners from around the world and to ethically souring the healthiest ingredients available.

Cheers to good health!


Steaz Gives Sugar the Slimdown

Let's face it. Most of us love the sweet, bubbly experience that comes from drinking a soda. Even if you're among the strong-willed that stick to water, tea, coffee, freshly squeezed juice and/or milk, there are occasions when it seems like those drinks just don't hit the spot. There's a long list of reasons why many of us deny our soda urge. In our last post, we talked about one reason: sugar or high fructose corn syrup. Now that you know Steaz is sweetened with organic sugar cane, and that it's always a good idea to pay attention to your sugar intake, we wanted to give you the lowdown on our sugar slimdown!

In 2009, Steaz began an initiative to reduce the amount of sugar in our products. Not necessarily because our consumers were demanding it, but because we believe living healthier also means consuming less sugar. We did it because it's a part of our promise to you to provide products that are good for the mind, body and soul.

Our Steaz Iced Teaz already have a lightly sweetened/low sugar profile at 10 grams per 8 ounces. This year, our original Steaz Sparkling Green Teas will go from 23 gs of sugar per 8 oz. to a more lightly sweetened formula at only 19 gs. (leading soft drinks have around 27 gs per 8 oz.) In October of last year, we introduced the naturally sweetened Steaz Zero Calorie Sparkling Green Tea line to replace our four flavors of Diet Steaz, which all contained 40 calories and 9 gs of sugar per 8 oz.

Naturally Zero Calories?

Steaz Zero Calorie RaspberrySo how can a sweet beverage have zero calories naturally? For most of us, zero calories means an artificial sweetener. It's an association we have in our minds that we don't think twice about. If you pay attention to your food and drink labels, you've seen them; aspartame, saccharin, sucralose. They are artificial and chemical compounds that offer the sweetness of sugar, but without the extra calories.

Is it possible for us to reconsider our definition of zero calories to also include natural sweeteners? Turns out, yes, thanks to a plant called stevia. And that's three cheers from dieters, diabetics and anyone who wants to lessen or eliminate the amount of sugar going into their bodies (or temples if you prefer!).

Stevia a plant native to Mexico, Central America and South America that's been around for centuries. Among its original uses, it served as a sweetener for yerba mate (which we use in our Steaz Energy line) and medicinal teas in South America. Stevia is also known as sweetleaf or sugarleaf. The leaf's extracts have up to 300 times the sweetness of table sugar. If you've ever eaten mint leaf or been brave enough to chew a small stick from a birch tree, you know what it's like to taste an intense flavor right from the source.

The stevia used in Steaz Zero is 100% natural and is organic compliant under the USDA's organic regulations. With zero calories and carbs, Steaz Zero Calorie still delivers 120 mg of antioxidants from the green tea, B vitamins and most important, serious flavor.

So when you add the lower sugar intake to the health benefits of tea and many other all natural ingredients, we hope that you can sit back, relax with a Steaz and remember that healthy alternatives do exist.

Stevia photo credit 

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