Real Iced Tea by Lipton - Rose & Elderflower

The five variants include Black Tea with Peach & Apricot and Green Tea with Mint

Unilever’s Lipton has entered the cold-brew tea trend with what it claims is the UK’s first range of bags containing real tea leaves.

Taking on cold-infuse lineups from Twinings and Tetley, Real Iced Tea by Lipton comprises five sugar-free variants: Black Tea with Strawberry & Rhubarb, Black Tea with Peach & Apricot, Green Tea with Mint, Green Tea with Mango & Vanilla, and Green Tea with Rose & Elderflower.

They are made with all-natural ingredients and Rainforest Alliance-certified tea, while the individually wrapped bags are plastic-free and biodegradable.

Real Iced Tea (rsp: £3.79/15 bags) is rolling out now, set to be supported from May to July by a £2m push. At 25p per bag, the range’s price sits between those of its two main rivals.

Read more: Snack brand Nim’s moves into hot drinks with Edible Teas

It came in response to “a real explosion in Brits’ love of iced tea, with sales out of home growing double digit” said Fiachra Moloney, marketing director for tea at Unilever.

“Cold-serve teabags have emerged that offer convenience, but we noticed something was missing – there was no tea. We are therefore proudly introducing a fast-brewing, authentic cold brew that taps into our nation’s love of tea.”

Lipton’s NPD comes after the cold-brew tea trend kicked off last year in earnest among leading brands, with Twinings the first to unveil a selection of drinks.

Its Cold Infuse teabags launched in April, followed two months later by the cheaper Cold Infusions from Tetley. The two lineups are made with botanicals and real fruit but no actual tea. Their principal ingredient is white hibiscus.

Both brands have insisted they are not competing with hot beverages, but are rather seeking to tap booming demand for flavoured water.