A range of DIY bubble teas by New Zealand company Avalanche Coffee was the biggest selling new product in Woolworths Australia for 2021, culminating in the range winning ‘Product Launch of the Year’ at the supermarket giant’s 2021 supplier awards this week.
The Bubble Tea, made at Avalanche’s West Auckland HQ, achieved instant fame in Australia when a video went viral on Tik Tok, with a staggering 2 million views within 72 hours leading to a frenzy of shoppers desperate to get their hands on some.
Its popularity has shown no sign of abating since the initial sell-out success; still selling at ten times Avalanche’s initial forecast. The range is now second in the tea category, and is already in the weekly top 5 sales assortments in Woolworths’ $1 billion hot beverages category.
Bubble Tea is mainly sold in specialty stores and the instagrammable drink with its distinct tapioca pearls and different colours is huge on social media platforms like Tik Tok and Instagram. Avalanche’s range, which can be made at home, was a first for supermarkets.
Avalanche co-founders Paul Tobin and Stefan Marusich said the Bubble Tea range has exceeded their wildest expectations and is now a substantial part of their business.
“We saw a big opportunity to capitalise on the bubble tea trend by producing a range to be sold in supermarkets that could be made at home,” said Paul. “We moved quickly to make a really good product at a reasonable price to disrupt the market and that’s what has happened.”
Tik Tok was identified early on as a key platform to reach the Bubble Tea fans, and it has paid off. The Tik Tok-loving target market spotting the DIY Bubble Tea Kits early (helped by a video by an Adelaide Tik Tokker that went viral with 2 million views in 72 hours) and emptying shelves shortly after.
This isn’t the first time the West Auckland business has had its stock wiped out in Australia thanks to social media influencers. In 2019, Sydney socialite, Kristin Fisher, shared a picture of Avalanche Coffee's sugar-free hot chocolate with her thousands of followers and immediately increased the company's sales 10-fold – it became a national sensation with media coverage of people desperate to get their hands on the product and leading to out of stock issues for the company’s first time in 18 years.
When it comes to stock supply for Bubble Tea, Avalanche’s Auckland team has been working around the clock to produce enough to meet demand in Australia. And good news for NZ – it is now also finally available to New Zealand bubble tea fans from supermarkets nationwide.