Yerba What?

Grown in the Atlantic Rainforest of South America, yerba mate is not your typical caffeine source.

August 29, 2023

This article is brought to you by Guayakí Yerba Mate.


Everyone is looking for a boost to get through the day, and for decades, people turned to hot dispensed coffee to meet that need. Coffee isn’t going anywhere, but according to recent NACS research, the subcategory is losing ground to other energy-providing beverages. According to the data, hot dispensed beverages, which is about three-quarters coffee, made up 9.4% of foodservice sales in 2022—down from 10.5% in 2021.

“People have all these options, and so they’re slowly migrating away from coffee as they choose what sort of energy boost works for them,” said Brian Bousley, chief commercial officer, Guayakí Yerba Mate.

According to Bousley, yerba mate is an alternative caffeine source quickly growing in popularity. Yerba mate comes from the naturally caffeinated leaves of a species of holly tree found in the Atlantic Rainforest of South America. Yerba mate gives you a smooth energy boost that consumers say is different than many coffee, tea or energy drinks” says Bousley.

“We like to position our products as a ready-to-drink beverage to serve as a bridge between carbonated soft drinks, which are about refreshment, and energy drinks, which are about the boost,” said Bousley. “Teas, energy drinks and ready-to-drink coffees are on the rise as people want that energy boost.”

“People are consuming our products throughout the entire day,” said Bousley “They might have it in the morning to replace their coffee, they might have it midday with their meal instead of their basic tea or they might have it as an afternoon pick-me-up instead of an energy drink.”

“We align perfectly with where the consumer is now and where they’re headed in the future,” Bousley said.

Maybe you’ve heard of Guayakí Yerba Mate, especially if your c-stores are primarily West Coast-based or you frequent natural and grocery stores. But if your locations are primarily on the East Coast and in the Midwest, your customers could find Guayakí Yerba Mate’s products for the first time in your stores. Learn about Guayakí Yerba Mate’s strategy to increase penetration at all convenience stores, and those regions in particular, in the Thursday, August 31 edition of NACS Daily.

This is the first installment of a two-part NACS Daily series on yerba mate. Learn more about Guayakí Yerba Mate.