Jess Gay spoke with Igzu co-founder and CEO Zachary Anderson about the brand, which is the “world’s first bottled bamboo leaf tea”.
What is Igzu?
Igzu is the world’s first bottled bamboo leaf tea. Certified organic, we have created a great-tasting, hydrating beverage great for you and the planet. Igzu tastes similar to a light green tea – refreshing and crisp, with just the right amount of sweetness and only 40 calories in an entire 16oz bottle.
What inspired its creation?
The creation of Igzu was fuelled by a passion and exuberance for sustainability. It’s right there in the name – Igzu stems from the phonetic spelling of the world exuberance – /iɡˈzu- b-(ə) rəns/. We set out to take a beautifully different look at consumer packaged goods, and wanted to see what we could create from arguably the most sustainable crop on the planet – bamboo. We knew once we started developing bamboo leaf tea, we had something special with its flavour profile, which is similar to a light green tea. As avid tea drinkers, most of the RTD tea products on the market showcase a sweeter fruit side, and we enjoy the more floral, botanical blends, that aren’t readily available in an RTD format. We wanted to flip the script on this norm with our three debut flavours – of elderflower citrus, lavender peach, and hibiscus blackberry – which really showcase those floral elements with inviting and familiar hints of fruit.
What challenges did you face whilst setting up the company?
We both have experience within the food and beverage industry, and once we settled on our concept, we knew what lay in front of us in regards to sourcing materials, setting up manufacturing, and so on – but we quickly discovered there wasn’t an existing bamboo leaf tea supplier that met our high standards of organic and kosher certification. We weren’t willing to compromise on producing an organic product, and wanted to ensure we worked with suppliers that cared, as much as we do, about the quality of life for those who truly make all of this possible – our farmers. This took us to the Caribbean where we actually set up our own supply chain for our core ingredient of bamboo leaf tea. In the process we established an exclusive partnership with our supplying farm – from wild harvest to shelf.
How do you create the beverage?
We proudly utilise traditional steeping methods, infusing the bamboo leaf tea with actual dried botanicals. For example, the elderflower, lavender and hibiscus showcased in each of our flavours are actually steeped along with the tea, just as you might do in your own home. The processing of our bamboo leaf tea is proprietary, but proudly results in a 100% organic ingredient.
What is the nutritional value of bamboo leaf tea – and what is the shelf life of the product?
Our bamboo leaf tea, like many other traditionally steeped teas, contains many beneficial antioxidants and nutrients. What we find to be most exciting is its high vegetative silica content, which has been seen to aid in hair, skin and bone health along with strengthening collagen growth and aiding in detoxification. All of our bottled teas are dry shelf-stable for at least one year from manufacturing.
Tell us about the charitable organizations Igzu supports.
Igzu donates 1% of all sales to charities focussed on the sustainability and preservation of our diverse planet. Unlike other companies, who base their give-backs on profits, we have been committed to making a difference regardless of bottom line since the very beginning. Currently we partner with The Ocean Foundation, Defenders of Wildlife, and The Solar Electric Light Fund. When we first set out to create Igzu we knew we wanted to focus our give back on two distinct pillars: protecting the diversity of the planet and sustainable alternative energy.
What are your plans for the future? Are you working on any new product launches?
As we look to the near future we are embracing retail and distribution conversations to establish Igzu’s first-to-market foothold. As far as new product launches, we are already hard at work developing new flavours for our line of ready-to-drink bamboo leaf tea as well as looking into new product platforms for consumers to enjoy bamboo in new, innovative ways. At our core we will always be committed to continuing our disruptive conversation around sustainable ingredients.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019