In the midline surge of energy drinks and canned soda distributions, there rests the undisturbed champion of flavored teas. Since its opening in 1971 in Brooklyn, AriZona tea has taken the top spot of on-the-go tea and juice distribution and has fashioned a reputable, environmentally-focused brand complete with merch and fruit snacks– all for the hefty price of just 99 cents per can.
Thus far, there have been few interruptions for AriZona and it’s founders until 2009, when a new underdog was thrown into the tea and juice market: Peace Tea, a company that was bought out by Coca-Cola in 2015. Rising in the ranks of popularity and challenging the age-old tastes of AriZona beverage enjoyers, Peace Tea’s emergence has sparked a debate as to which tea is better.
While Peace Tea boasts a similar low price, it isn’t for the same reasons as AriZona, which has kept it’s 99 cent tag because of their packaging and the manner in which they make their cans; this method uses 40% less aluminum than a standard can on the shelves. And while the can may be thinner, that certainly doesn’t mean that AriZona has cut back on giving you the bang for your buck… literally. It has always cost 99 cents, a badge that AriZona wears proudly on each can that they sell. Even though the company rakes in well over a billion dollars a year, not an ounce of it has been dropped on marketing or advertisement; therefore, customers have nothing to make up for, and all it takes to enjoy an AriZona drink is a dollar bill. On the other hand, Peace Tea is owned by Coca-Cola, and since this is the case, the product is neither environmentally conscious or set in price as AriZona is. It can and does, fluctuate at any given time, only to attempt to recreate the same flavor profile as its main competitor.
That’s right- Peace Tea flavors are similar, almost exactly the same as AriZona. AriZona had Iced Raspberry Tea, and Peace Tea did Razzleberry. Peace Tea’s Hello Mango Green Tea is certainly meant to be a play off of AriZona’s Mucho Mango juice. The catch to Peace Tea’s flavors? AriZona makes their drinks sweet without the use of sucralose, an artificial sweetener, and Peace Tea uses a ton of it. Sucralose, while safer than aspartame, is known to alter glucose and insulin levels, and it does affect the taste. How do we know this? Survey data taken last week in a taste-test competition suggested as much: AriZona’s Arnold Palmer reported a higher score of satisfaction than Peace Tea’s Caddyshack, another copycat flavor gone wrong.
All of this to say that Peace Tea can’t hold a candle to AriZona. At the end of the day, why would you choose artificial sugars, fluctuating prices, and a disregard for environmental benefits when you could choose actual teas? Not to mention that because of AriZona’s unblemished reputation, it can be found in almost any store in North America. Peace Tea isn’t as known, isn’t as popular and simply isn’t as good. So if you want a can, you’re going to have to do some digging for it.
By Lia Hudgins
It has long been debated what the best brand of tea is. From Lipton to Gold Peak, Brisk to Snapple. While I’ve come to the conclusion that the two best-of-the-best tea brands are Peace Tea and AriZona. Both drinks became widely popularized for their use of creatively designed cans. In my humble opinion Peace Tea is the better brand.
First, let’s explore the roots of each company. Peace Tea was first created in 2008 when Level Studios approached artist John Malloy (FLuX) about designing the cans for a new line of teas which would be produced by Monster Energy. The designs were inspired by various peace movements and celebrations throughout history. Once finished with the original designs for one of the cans, Malloy pitched the design to Mark Hall, president of Monster Energy at the time, who loved the design. The two then brought on brand managers Steve Jugan and Ginger Conrad who would help them design 13 more cans along with various other brand media. In December 2009, the product officially launched to widespread success. By 2015, the Coca Cola Company bought Peace Tea from Monster. Because of this, Peace Tea is the better tea brand. Coca Cola boasts an elite status in the beverage industry and by the transitive property, Peace Tea does the same in its own respective market.
What better to determine the better brand then find out from the consumers themselves. We conducted an experiment to determine which had better flavors. We took 3 different flavors from each brand and had a random group of students and teachers sample them. From AriZona, we took Arnold Palmer, Kiwi Strawberry, and Fruit Punch. From Peace Tea, we took Caddyshack, Hello Mango, and Razzleberry. We had 14 participants sample 2 drinks, each from a different brand, and give us a number rating out of 10. Peace Tea rated consistently higher than AriZona. The top 3 highest rated drinks from the experiment were Peace Tea’s Razzleberry (8.25/10), AriZona’s Fruit Punch (7.375/10), and Peace Tea’s Hello Mango (7.2/10). In this case, Peace Tea takes the win as it has shown to have better taste than AriZona.
Additionally, for consumers that are body conscious or monitoring caloric intake, Peace Tea offers the better choice. Peace Tea’s Hello Mango has 160 calories per can whereas AriZona’s Herbal Tonic has 300 calories per can. Peace Tea’s Just Peachy has only 150 calories and AriZona’s Sweet Tea flavor has 250 calories. The trend continues. A can of AriZona typically contains around 250 to 300 calories as opposed to Peace which typically only has around 150 calories per can. In this case, if one were to start watching their calories, Peace Tea would be the obvious answer.
By Ellis Keipper