King’s Hawaiian ʻohana acquires Shaka Tea

Shaka Tea announced that it has joined the King’s Hawaiian family of companies. The acquisition, which was official as of 1 February, enables Shaka Tea to accelerate its growth, expand its network of local farmers and continue to champion sustainable agriculture, and economic development in Hawaiʻi. The Hilo-based brand is known for its teas brewed with sustainably grown, Hawaiian māmaki leaves, and has recently added locally sourced ingredients such as ʻōlena, Hawaiian turmeric.

“Shaka Tea is thrilled to join the King’s Hawaiian ʻohana and values our shared commitment to an abundance mindset rooted in sustainability for Hawaiʻi and sourcing directly from local farmers,” shared Bella Hughes and Harrison Rice, Shaka Tea co-founders. “We look forward to working with them and continuing to build Shaka Tea into an iconic brand that will endure for generations to come.”

The Shaka Tea brand and products will remain the same, as will the employees and management team, with Rice assuming the position of president and Hughes becoming the head of mission and innovation, effective immediately.

Māmaki is an endemic plant found only in the Hawaiian Islands and since its founding, Shaka Tea has given away 35,000 māmaki seedlings to small farmers. Shaka Tea practices direct trade, paying farmers a premium, as māmaki is a high-value export crop for Hawaiʻi. Maturing in only 6-12 months, planting māmaki helps restore native ecosystem habitats and as a perennial crop, farmers can harvest it year-round, benefitting the local agriculture economy and community.

“Shaka Tea represents a blueprint of how to cultivate a successful business while honouring sustainable growing practices and bringing a great tasting, unique, and superior wellness product to people around the world, said Mark Taira, CEO of King’s Hawaiian, which is also based in Hilo. “It’s taken 70 years to build King’s Hawaiian into what is today and we’re beyond excited to share what we’ve learned and to be able to support the growth of the next generation of food brands from Hawaiʻi.”

“The combined efforts of Shaka Tea and King’s Hawaiian will bring additional capital and resources to a consumable crop that represents a growth opportunity for farming in our state,” said Murray Clay, president, Ulupono Initiative. “I believe their partnership will yield even more opportunities for existing farmers to expand māmaki production, encourage new farmers to enter this space, and contribute to uplifting agriculture in Hawai‘i as a whole.”

Shaka Tea, which was founded in 2016 and has products available in all 50 states and Japan, will maintain its headquarters and operations in Hilo, where it has cultivated deep roots with the farming community and recently opened an expanded retail and processing facility. For more information visit: shakatea.com.

King’s Hawaiian is a family-owned food manufacturer known for its Hawaiian sweet rolls, baked goods, and restaurant properties. It was founded by Robert R Taira in Hilo in 1950, with a mission of finding new ways to bring Hawai’i to the world. Visit: kingshawaiian.com for more information.

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