Are You Carrying Yerba Mate?

Guayakí Yerba Mate offers retailers a new product with a track record of sales success.

Are You Carrying Yerba Mate?

September 2023   minute read

What exactly is yerba mate?

Yerba mate comes from naturally caffeinated leaves of a species of holly tree that is native to the Atlantic rainforest of South America. Many people find the energy of yerba mate to be different from that of coffee, tea or energy drinks. 

Brian Bousley Chief Commercial Officer

Traditionally, yerba mate is infused with hot water in a hollowed-out gourd. The liquid is filtered through a metal straw called a bombilla and is usually shared among friends who take a sip and pass it along. This tradition has been passed down for generations.

Guayakí Yerba Mate began in 1996 on the California Polytechnic University campus, when Argentinian Alex Pryor first introduced yerba mate to Californian David Karr. Fast friends, the inspired duo traveled the country to share yerba mate culture with others through a product that could be better for people and the planet. At Guayakí Yerba Mate, we continue to source regenerative, organic and fair trade certified ingredients that are better for people and the planet.

For those who haven’t tried it before, how would you describe the taste? 

Many people associate the taste of Guayakí Yerba Mate with that of a flavored tea.

Within our portfolio we offer consumers a variety of options to meet both their energy and refreshment needs, including ready to drink beverages that are brewed with yerba mate and infused with real fruit juices and herbs as well as our original traditional loose leaf product offering.

Sales velocities across the top-selling flavors are very consistent with the top four flavors being Enlighten Mint, Revel Berry, Bluephoria and our newest lower calorie flavor, Peach Revival, which comes in at 20 calories and three grams of sugar.

Who is the Guayakí Yerba Mate consumer?

While we are expanding our reach nationally, our loyal, heavy-use consumers account for approximately 75% of our volume. When consumers discover Guayakí, we become an integral part of their daily beverage routine.

Our consumer is often younger (18-44), more health conscious and looking for a bridge between sodas and energy drinks. Our consumers consider themselves curious and original, seeking new opportunities in life. Instead of drinking Guayakí Yerba Mate on one daypart occasion, they are looking for a sustained energy boost throughout their day without jitters or crashes often associated with various caffeinated beverage products.

Ranked by productivity in the convenience channel, Guayakí is the No. 1 single-serve brand in RTD teas and +48% more productive than the next-leading brand. When compared to the $ velocity of other caffeinated beverages, Guayakí is No. 3 in the energy brands segment and No. 1 in RTD coffees, which demonstrates the versatility of Guayakí Yerba Mate. Guayakí has an extremely high buy rate among focus brands in RTD teas, coffees and energy drinks.

The average Guayakí consumer spends about $7.81 per trip across 10.1 trips per year, for an annual buy rate of $78.53. Guayakí also has the highest repeat rate among focus brands, with 71% of consumers making more than two purchases.

Describe the versatility a little more—how does Guayakí Yerba Mate fit in a traditional beverage lineup?

Guayakí Yerba Mate is in the premium, caffeinated beverage sub-set within the mainline tea category, adjacent to the energy category. This is based on its better ingredients for people and planet, and its premium pricing, velocity and functionality. 

One of the amazing things about Guayakí is that it satisfies more consumer need states across different parts of their day than most, if not all, beverages. With regard to daily consumption of Guayakí, 31% of sales take place in the afternoon daypart, which aligns with the top beverage category at that time of day (which is RTD teas). At the same time, Guayakí drives 28% of sales during the early-to-late morning daypart, which is consistent with sales of both hot and cold brew coffees.

Take us inside Guayakí Yerba Mate as a business. 

Guayakí started in the natural channel (mid 80% ACV) and has been incredibly successful over the years. As we look to garner more awareness and trial, we are moving aggressively into the convenience channel. Right off the bat we are seeing some nice preliminary c-store traction, but with a ton of excitement and room to grow.

In the convenience channel, Guayakí is the No. 1 single serve dollars per total distribution point (TDP) among all RTD teas and yerba mates and is currently ranked as the #7 RTD brand with only a 10.1% ACV.

Compared to energy drinks, Guayakí is the No. 3 brand in average dollars/store/week/item (DSWI) last 52 weeks trailing only Red Bull and Monster. In fact, Guayakí average dollars (DSWI) in the convenience channel is $14.25, which is twice the average DSWI of the top-selling, emerging better-for-you energy brands.

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