November 10, 2021
A debilitating digestive illness led to the launch of Halfday Tonics, a Philadelphia-based brand of canned tea beverages featuring prebiotic fiber. Founders Kayvon Jahanbakhsh and Michael Lombardo began developing the concept as college students several years ago following a severe bout of ulcerative colitis that hospitalized Jahanbakhsh for three months and sank his swim career, reports Food Business News.
Jahanbakhsh eliminated these drinks from his diet to avoid flare-ups of his disease, which is triggered by high sugar intake, he said. The addition of inulin to homemade batches of iced tea aided his recovery and sparked the idea for the business.
“As I started to get better and better, I realized there’s a need for this,” he said.
An overwhelming majority of Americans fail to consume the recommended amount of dietary fiber per day. Many brands marketing digestive wellness typically target older shoppers, Jahanbakhsh said, citing Activia and Metamucil as examples.
The products are formulated with organic ingredients, including green or black tea extract, Jerusalem artichoke inulin, agave inulin, apple juice concentrate and lemon juice concentrate, plus stevia leaf extract. Varieties include peach green tea, lemon black tea and green tea with honey and ginseng. A seasonal flavor, cranberry black tea, is set to debut in November.
“There really hasn’t been iced tea innovation since Honest in the ‘90s and early 2000s,” Jahanbakhsh said. “We really liked iced teas as kids, even going into our adult years, but obviously over the age of 18, it’s pretty difficult to drink 40 grams of sugar in a sitting and feel good after.”
“We get reviews from people who always drank Brisk or Arizona, and they’re able to switch without making that sacrifice, which is really cool,” said Jahanbakhsh, who described Halfday as “Snapple 2.0.”
He added, “They can basically reduce their sugar consumption by 80% to 90% and still get that full satisfaction of a classic iced tea; and, on top of that, the digestive health benefits.”
Research contact: @FoodBusinessNews