Millennia TEA’s patented edible frozen tea now at Whole Foods Market locations across Canada
Saint John, NB: Five years after a health scare prompted a New Brunswick couple to reimagine the most consumed beverage in the world after water, their category-creating innovation has attracted the attention of one of the biggest and most premium natural-food grocery chains in the world.
Millennia TEA is now fully stocked in freezers at Whole Foods Market locations in Canada. Co-founder and CEO Tracy Bell says it’s a dream come true.
“When we started down the path of creating a company back in 2016, and we asked ourselves for the first time, ‘what would success look like?’ The dream reality we imagined, and set as our big goal was for Millennia TEA to line the freezer shelves of Whole Foods, in Canada first, and then internationally. Whole Foods is the grocery store known around the world for carrying the highest-quality organic products from companies who care about nourishing people and protecting the planet,” says Bell.
Millennia TEA is the first company globally to deliver an edible, frozen tea product. The Company works with farmers in central Sri Lanka to harvest by hand fresh organic green tea leaves. The food-as-medicine plant clippings are then washed and flash frozen on the same day, similar to what you’d see with frozen wild blueberries*. The frozen Camellia sinensis leaves are then packaged as a loose, chopped raw tea, and also in a ‘cubed’ convenience format. Millennia is the first and only tea you’ll find in the freezer section of the store.
“People are waking up to the fact that frozen is the new fresh. That if you want to maximize the health benefits of the food you’re consuming, you harvest at their nutritional prime and flash freeze them within hours. In the case of our product, keeping the tea leaves in their real, raw format delivers multiples more of the powerhouse antioxidants in the plant. And our product can be used in food – as a superfood booster for smoothies, sauces, dips, and more – something you could never do with a conventional dried tea.”
“We’re told (1) the ‘food-as-medicine’ and raw, whole-plant aspect of our product, combined with (2) the uniqueness of experiencing an ancient health beverage in an entirely new and novel way, and the fact that (3) our patented preservation method is a scientifically-superior way of consuming maximum EGCG antioxidants naturally makes us an exciting addition to the organic lineup at Whole Foods.”
With more than 500 stores in North America and the UK, Whole Foods is one of the largest natural-foods grocery chains in the world. Acquired by Amazon for more than $13 billion in 2017, Whole Foods only carries minimally processed foods, free of hydrogenated fats, artificial flavours, colours, sweeteners and preservatives. There are 14 Whole Foods in Canada, centred in Ontario and BC.
“When you walk into a Whole Foods you don’t have to question whether the products are safe and healthy. They’re already vetted to be of the highest quality, both in terms of ingredients, manufacturing processes, and sustainability measures across the supply chain of the products they carry. The brands that make it into their stores are part of a special group of caring, quality, conscious food entrepreneurs. To be counted among them is an honour.”
The news of Whole Foods is the latest in a series of growth moments for the Saint John start up. In April, Millennia TEA rolled out in hundreds of Sobeys and Safeway freezers across Canada. In May, the company received Sobeys’ prestigious Innovation Award, presented to a company the grocery giant works with who’s doing something exciting and unique in the grocery space. And as the world’s first frozen tea makes its debut in Whole Foods freezers, it is being featured as a new Canadian product to look for with special signage and in-store promotions.
“We are absolutely brimming with gratitude. It’s been an uphill climb these past five years. Our work at first was proving the concept and working with bio-scientists to land on how to safeguard the max amount of nutrients. Then we travelled to places around the world to find tea farmers to partner with us to bring an all-new global category of tea to market.
Today, our work is one of education. Taking a product that’s been consumed dried for so long, and helping consumers imagine it as a fresh, medicinal plant requires fresh perspective. Asking them to find it in an entirely new section of the store, to store it in their freezer, and to experiment with it in ways they have never considered before often requires a little dialogue. That means we hear from new customers regularly, and we get to develop a relationship with the people we exist to serve, and who tell us they’re experiencing the benefits of real, raw tea. That’s the whole reason we have a company, and among the greatest joys of my life both personally and professionally.”
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About Millennia TEA Incorporated
Millennia TEA is the first company globally to wash and flash-freeze fresh picked organic tea leaves (instead of cooking them) to deliver the freshest and most antioxidant-rich tea anywhere.
Founded in 2016 after a health scare in the family, Millennia TEA offers the tea in its purest and most naturally-powerful format. Its process for “Maximizing EGCG antioxidants in TEA” is patented – delivering the first washed, whole-plant, food-grade loose tea on the market.
Named “best new product” at the largest specialty tea show in the world (World Tea Expo), Millennia TEA sources organically-grown, hand-picked tea from regions and growing conditions that yield max antioxidants and selectively partner with farmers who care about their harvesters and the planet. Their product was selected as a top new health product of 2021 by the Canadian Health Food Association, and health scientists are calling it a top emerging health trend.
Headquartered in Saint John, NB, we are on a mission to fuel wellness with the freshest and most antioxidant-rich tea anywhere, and to establish the global category of fresh-leaf tea. Visit www.millenniatea.com
*Conventional dried green/black teas, by comparison, are made from tea leaves that are harvested, dried and cooked in various ways to result in a product that can sit on a shelf for years.