Canadian Frozen Beverage Trailblazer Millennia TEA doubles its retail footprint across Canada
Company closes seed investment round to support expansion plans for category-creating frozen tea health booster
Millennia TEA, a category creating innovator in the wellness industry, has doubled its retail footprint by launching in Canada’s largest retailer – Loblaws. The New Brunswick start-up offers consumers the very first freshly-frozen, un-processed tea plant product in market today. Unlike traditional dried teas and matcha powders, Millennia TEA is kept FRESH, un-dried and un-cooked. Frozen hours after harvested, the tea leaves are kept in their purest and most naturally-powerful form, to maximize the plant’s natural health properties, and deliver the first food-grade tea and an antioxidant booster for smoothies, sauces, soups and more.
"For as long as we’ve had a product in market, we’ve imagined the day we’d be able to walk into our local Loblaws store – Atlantic Superstore is the ‘banner name’ here in NB – and buy a bag of Millennia frozen green tea,” said Tracy Bell, Co-Founder and CEO.
Millennia TEA began rolling out into grocery store freezers 2 years ago and just as the world shut down. Tracy and her TEAm felt the impact immediately as health food stores halted orders for new innovations in the uncertainty of what was unfolding. But they knew this was an important time for their innovation and were determined to stay the course, fuelled by (a lot of immune-boosting frozen tea), and their company mantra:
“We exist to serve others in life changing ways - to help fuel wellness with our products so people and families can live longer, stronger, more satisfying lives”.
The timing of the superfood company’s launch across Canada is bittersweet, says Bell. Like so many companies with international supply chains or new-to-market innovations, Millennia’s past couple years have been filled with obstacles. At the same time, the pandemic proved perfect timing for a product like Millennia TEA to be readily available for Canadians to enjoy its immune-supporting antioxidants. The Bells knew they had to hold closely to their “why” and remember exactly why they started the company in the first place.
“We started this journey back in 2016 because of a health scare in the family. We new we needed antioxidants to fight free radical damage and learned the most naturally-powerful way to get them was by ‘eating’ the tea plant, called Camellia sinensis,” says Bell.
As Tracy and her husband continued to research the tea plant, they began to wonder if there was a “better for you” version? They searched for a fresh, un-dried whole plant option to purchase. When they couldn’t find it – they created it.
An entirely new category of the tea plant was born – fresh superfood tea – a product to support health, immunity and natural energy.
The small superfood start-up has not only survived the obstacles of the past 2 years, but has now doubled its retail freezer count. Millennia TEA products (convenience-format tea cubes, as well as chopped loose product), are now available at Loblaw-owned grocery stores across Canada, including Atlantic Superstore in the East, Provigo in Quebec, Loblaw, Zehrs, Fortinos and Real Canadian Superstore locations in Ontario, and Real Canadian Superstore locations in Western Canada. This includes the company’s very first retail location in the Northwest Territories! Three hundred (300) new locations in total, where Canadians looking for a clean green source of energy and antioxidants can find Millennia TEA in the organic frozen aisle.
Millennia closes seed investment round
Millennia is also earning the confidence of investors in Canada and the US. The Company has just closed its second round of outside investment. Led by a group of private investors, including several of Atlantic Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs, and two institutional funds in the US, SOSV and Distributors Fund.
“I believe that when you take on any endeavor from a place of adding value to peoples’ lives, you will find the partners required to bring that new creation into the world. That has certainly been our experience. We have a big mission to establish a new global category of tea, and to help millions live longer stronger lives. And from our TEA-mates and mentor base, to our suppliers, to our private and VC investors, Millennia is supported and surrounded by a level of experience and expertise in business and growth that is awe-inspiring and humbling,” says Bell.
Two years following its initial investment round – a pre-seed round the company used to firm up its supply chain and bring to market a consistent, scalable product, and to make its first hires – Millennia will use this round of investment to (1) grow its reach and reputation across Canada and (2) launch into its first export market by end of 2022, as well as (3) expand its product line to include additional supports for energy, immune function, as well as gut and brain health.
To that end, Millennia has doubled its TEAm in recent weeks, from four to eight, and has doubled down on efforts to connect one-on-one with consumers, “to learn how we can add additional benefit and support the lifestyle changes and dietary outcomes important to the people we exist to serve, through new products choices / occasions to use Millennia TEA, as well as understanding how we can show up in meaningful ways in the communities where our customers live and work,” says Bell.
Launching into Canada’s largest grocer and nearly doubling its door count is part of the work to grow its reach and ensure frozen edible tea is easily accessible to consumers in communities from coast to coast.
About Millennia TEA
Millennia TEA is a category-creating food-as-medicine consumer brand on Canada’s East Coast. We share the first-ever FROZEN EDIBLE TEA to maximize the health benefits of the tea plant, and give tea new uses as a superfood whole-plant energy and antioxidant booster for smoothies and other recipes. Working with an organic farmers cooperative in central Sri Lanka (called the Marginalized Organic Producers Association), Millennia TEA shares the first washed, flash-frozen tea product on the market. It’s process for “Maximizing EGCG Antioxidants in the Tea Plant” is patented in Canada and the United States. Millennia TEA is sold in specialty health grocers across Canada, as well as organic mass and mainstream grocery chains, such as Whole Foods Market, Sobeys and Safeway locations across the country, and now Loblaw stores, including Atlantic Superstore, Provigo, Zehrs, and Real Canadian Superstore locations. Millennia TEA can be found in 700 plus grocery stores across Canada. The Company also sells direct to consumer through its website, and collaborates at the local level, whenever possible, to support other small businesses (e.g. as a better-for-you ingredient in kombucha, craft beer, skincare, and ice cream).