Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Product Review - Nestea Vitao

Recently I was given the opportunity to review Nestea Vitao Iced Tea. I actually don't drink pop or iced tea but my university-aged daughter does enjoy anything with a tea label on it and I was interested in the marketing behind this relatively new product.
I received the cans of Green, Red and White tea varieties, only slightly dented by the overly enthusiastic FedEx people. Oh well, only one burst on the voyage, little harm done.
The first thing I noticed about the iced tea is that is is marketed as a health product, not a pop (which is what I think of iced teas in general). I can only speak for the Canadian product, it may be different in different parts of the world.

"In Canada, Natural Health Products (NHP), are defined as vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic medicines, traditional medicines such as traditional Chinese medicines, probiotics, and other products like amino acids and essential fatty acids. Since NESTEA Vitao™ is enhanced with vitamins (C, E) and minerals (calcium), it is classified as a Natural Health Product rather than a traditional beverage.
You will find the packaging is quite different than other bottled or canned beverages. Rather than a traditional Nutrition Facts table that appears on traditional food or beverage labels, NHP packages/labels are required to display a recommended use or purpose for the product, the recommended dose, the quantity of active ingredients and a list of all non-medicinal ingredients.
NHP guidelines require us to put dosage recommendations on the label. Guidance regarding the dosage ranges for active ingredients is provided in the NHP monographs and this guidance was used in determining the recommended dose. We recommend that NESTEA Vitao™ be consumed as part of a balanced diet. NESTEA Vitao™ has been formulated for ages 12 and up."

This business of nutraceuticals is a new one and smacks of trickery to me. I had to go online to find out sugar content - something that is very important to our family. They claim to be adding sugar count to packaging starting in 2008, but it was not on the cans I received.

I also find that the iced tea is for sale in the regular pop/sugared drink aisle and not in the pharmacy. Just sayin.

Ok, my marketing opinions aside - how did my daughter and her friends like it? They loved the flavours, found them to be more mild than regular iced tea and liked the fact that they had added nutrients. They preferred the Nestea Vitao to regular Nestea and other Coca Cola products. I asked them if they went to a movie and all drinks were a dollar, what would they buy - they all said the Vitao. When I asked if they thought it was more like a natural fruit juice, non-carbonated pop or health product - they said non-carbonated pop.

I agree. This is a product that is a little more virtuous than regular canned pop and iced tea. It has slightly less sugar and the added benefits of added anti-oxidents, vitamins and minerals. If you were already drinking pop or iced tea, this would be a beneficial drink to check out.
If you are like me and tend to just drink water and regular brewed herbal teas, you are better off to stick with what you are drinking now.

They also have an interesting campaign about doing good and seem to be supporting it well. We can't really complain about that kind of advertising trend, as long as people still investigate and evaluate what they buy.

Red Tea Panna Cotta
This creamy dessert is satisfying without being at all heavy.
(I subbed blueberries for the raspberries, as they are on sale this week!)

1/4 cup berry-flavoured red iced tea (for gelatin mixture)
3 1/2 tsp gelatin powder
3 1/4 cups 18% cream
3/4 cup icing sugar
1/3 cup berry-flavoured red iced tea (for cream mixture)

Marinated Raspberries:
1/4 cup berry-flavoured red iced tea
1/2 pint of fresh raspberries
2 tsp sugar

Place 1/4 cup of red tea in a small bowl, and sprinkle with gelatin powder. Set aside for 5 min.

Heat the cream, icing sugar and remaining red tea in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat until warm. Stir 1/4 cup of warm mixture into the softened gelatin, then add back into the saucepan. Gently warm the mixture for 4 min stirring occasionally.

Lightly oil eight 1/2 cup moulds. Pour mixture into moulds and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.

Wash and dry the raspberries and place in a small bowl.

Dissolve the sugar in the tea and add to raspberries.

Top panna cottas with raspberries when ready to serve.

serves 8

We really enjoyed this recipe, supplied by Nestea. The panna cottas were light as clouds. If you didn't have the red tea to use, pure pomegranate or cranberry juice would also be nice.

Still wondering about the sugar content?

1 can of Coke has 39g,
1 can of Reg. Nestea has 33g.
1 can of Nestea Vitao has 24-26g, depending on the flavour. (and has 90 calories)
1 can = 12 oz (341 ml), but watch that you aren't just reading the amounts given for a serving, as 1 serving quite often = 8 oz (250 ml) in nutrient data tables.